November 19, 2013

"Both [Bush's] Iraq intervention and Obama's health-care 'reform' were responses to a status quo that was widely understood to be unsatisfactory."

"We would argue that the former replaced a horrific regime with a better, albeit still flawed, one, whereas the latter appears on its way to replacing a flawed regime with a horrific one."
But it's difficult to dispute that both efforts suffered from severe misjudgments in execution, or that both were entered into amid a cocky overconfidence that led to gross overestimates of the benefits and underestimates of the costs.
Shock and awe/big fucking deal.

57 comments:

rhhardin said...

The invasion of Iraq was briefly enough to straighten out the entire region.

It fell apart thanks to the Democrat strategy of playing up militarily insignificant terrorist attacks as signs of its failure.

The message to the terrorists was do more of the same, we can get these guys to leave.

And they did.

Democrat advantage too.

So the incentives are all wrong, at bottom owing to the viewership needs of the MSM. The Democrats offer playable story lines.

Henry said...

The Iraq analogy occurred to me in context of the idiotic Meet the Press conversation you reported a few days ago.

You won't get much more macho in a room than Rumsfeld and Cheney, not to mention the Joint Chiefs, and the military on the ground. Bush himself is decisive and responsible in a way that Obama doesn't understand and can't fake.

Macho wasn't the answer.

The failure of the ACA is structural. Naming names and kicking ass won't make ludicrous regulations suddenly sane. It won't make a bad software architecture magically work. It won't convince people who are drowning to take the anchor for the greater good.

That whole conversation between Brokaw, Gregory and Matthews was petty excuse making. Blaming the ACA catastrophe on poor execution is a desperate attempt to avoid recognizing the systematic failure it really is.

There was some blaming of execution in the early failures after Baghdad's fall. Some of that criticism was accurate, in limited context. There were failures of execution.

But over time history made clear that "better execution" is no answer for unplanned consequences.

That will be made clear here too.

Matthew Sablan said...

Speaking of the masculine butt-kicking, I just remembered: Remember when Obama was looking for an ass to kick over the oil spill? Memories.

Illuninati said...

The article in the Wall Street Journal points out the deep anti-white racial hatred on the left.
"Why in the world would the differing racial composition of the victims make a comparison between the two disasters "particularly outrageous"? Walsh is the author of a book called "What's the Matter With White People?" Is her animus toward whites--white men in particular--so blinding that she actually regards their lives as intrinsically less valuable than those of blacks?"

I suspect that those leftists politicians who are in safe seats are relishing the anguish of millions of Americans who are being hurt by the new health law since the majority of those affected are white and middle class. I believe the name Marxists use for that type of people are bourgeois or kulaks. According to Marxists they are the enemies of the people.

It is inane to compare the death rate from a natural disaster (even if government response is inefficient) to the death rate in a disaster deliberately created by the government. At one time even the American left recognized this fact. That is why they tried to blame the Holodomor on a natural disaster rather than accept responsibility for a deliberate famine produced by the Communist government to rid the regime of the hated kulaks and traditional peasants. The American left now feels so empowered that they no longer need to hide their malignant intentions and therefore they no longer need to make that distinction.

EDH said...

But also remember Obama voted in the Senate to abandon Iraq and volitionally‎ throw it into into pure chaos.

...both were entered into amid a cocky overconfidence that led to gross overestimates of the benefits and underestimates of the costs.

"Well, let's not start sucking each other's dicks quite yet."

[Mistaken Althouse tag joke.]

Tank said...

Tarantino tag?

Close, but no cigar.

Freder Frederson said...

It fell apart thanks to the Democrat strategy of playing up militarily insignificant terrorist attacks as signs of its failure.

4400 American soldiers were killed in Iraq, along with a minimum of 100,000 (and possibly as many as 600,000) violent deaths of Iraqi citizens, the vast majority of which were civilians.

What exactly do you consider "militarily significant"?

MadisonMan said...

Ah, the old problem. We must do something!!!

The cure can be worse than the disease, you know.

Illuninati said...


Blogger Freder Frederson said...
"4400 American soldiers were killed in Iraq, along with a minimum of 100,000 (and possibly as many as 600,000) violent deaths of Iraqi citizens, the vast majority of which were civilians."

In retrospect, I agree that Bush's Iraq policy was disastrous on many levels. He wasn't lying just naïve. Obama has taken Bush's mistakes and has doubled down on them.

SJ said...

@Freder,

I seem to remember the 100,000-killed number.

The statistics were something like 100000 dead (+/- 80000 at 95% confidence).

If you don't understand it, it means that the statistical model said that somewhere between 20000 and 180000 had died. But it couldn't get the results much narrower than that.

I don't remember if the 600000-dead-civilians number had the same problems, but there were other statistical critiques. Among which were attempting to model deaths in an active guerrilla war as if they had been caused by random factors...and potentially oversampling areas with high death rates, and undersampling areas with low death rates.

If you're going to critique President Bush's actions, bring good data to the table.

William said...

If the Iraqis had acted in their rational self interest, they would have embraced democracy rather than suicide bombers. If the Democrats had acted in their rational self interest, they would have offered a functional website rather than one that self destructs.

cubanbob said...

Freder's comment is indicative of the stupidity of the left.
Notice in his snark he doesn't state what the alternative in Iraq would have been. With all of the flaws, Iraq is still infinitely better off now versus leaving Saddam alive and in power. If Obama had stayed the course it would have been better off now than it is. Same for Afghanistan.

As for the ACA, it created a problem where there wasn't one and by its own metric has failed miserably in its goals.
At least Obama and the Demicrats are consistent, they have failed consistently across the board.

Robert Cook said...

Hmmm...so the Wall Street Journal thinks a committing a war crime is equivalent to managing to get a controversial policy initiative enacted into law.

rehajm said...

Status: Fetal position. Suck thumb. Dream of George Bush.

Michael K said...

Several comments.

Bush was mistaken in thinking that Iraq, still tribal under the apparent semi-modern veneer, was a candidate for democracy.

Rumsfeld and Tommy Franks had no intention of staying for "nation building", hence no plan for the occupation.

The fake "100,000" deaths paper ruined Lancet's reputation for objectivity and it is now on a par with Scientific American as a formerly serious publication.

Obama and Pelosi's hubris in the Obamacare debacle has some similarities to Bush's error in Iraq. In both cases, the problem was too big for the proposed solution. Obamacare won't ever work. Iraq is closer to democracy than Obamacare is to competence.

Robert Cook said...

With all of the flaws, Iraq is still infinitely better off now versus leaving Saddam alive and in power.

Sez who?

And, even granting (for argument's sake)that were true, that doesn't justify it or mean we had a legal basis to initiate war against Iraq.

Our invasion of Iraq was a war crime.

Robert Cook said...

"I suspect that those leftists politicians...."

Hahaha! We have no more "lefist" politicians in Washington than can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Robert Cook said...

"In retrospect, I agree that Bush's Iraq policy was disastrous on many levels. He wasn't lying just naïve."

He was lying...or was completely duped by those in his administration who were lying, (Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al.), who knew they were engaged in a criminal action.

Henry said...

cubanbob: With all of the flaws, Iraq is still infinitely better off now versus leaving Saddam alive and in power. If Obama had stayed the course it would have been better off now than it is.

Spare us the false alternatives. We have no way of knowing what history would have given us otherwise.

You can look at the specific costs. You can examine geopolitical transitions. You can hypothesize alternatives from a specific point in time. There may be specific goods that came out of the conflict that to weight against the bad. There are no infinities.

Except that there are a lot of U.S. soldiers and a lot of Iraqis who are infinitely worse off because of the war. They're dead.

lemondog said...

That whole conversation between Brokaw, Gregory and Matthews was petty excuse making.

What is the point of the news media? Is investigative journalism dead? Did ANYONE in the media bother to investigate, examine and challenge the legislation piece by piece, expose and report on the deficiencies and flaws and potential consequences? Do the media not care enough to employ people knowledgeable enough to read and interpret legal government documents affecting the nation as a whole, or is just taking the word of a pol good enough for the American public?!!

Andy Freeman said...

Was the US' involvement in the european theater in WWII a war crime? I ask because the "Iraq was a war crime" argument can be applied in other situations. If it gives the wrong answer in those situations, why should we accept it wrt Iraq?

lemondog said...

With all of the flaws, Iraq is still infinitely better off now versus leaving Saddam alive and in power.

How do you know this? Is the Middle East as a whole, more or less stable?

SH was a monster, but seems not a week goes by with reports that a suicide bomber has detonated killing dozens of people.

Jason said...

All major government initiatives suffer from severe misjudgments and execution. Not all of them, however, suffer from catastrophic fucking failure.

Jason said...

ObamaCare is not like Iraqi Freedom. If you were going to compare it to a military operation, it would be something closer to a $2 trillion Bay of Pigs.

Illuninati said...

Robert Cook said...

"He was lying...or was completely duped by those in his administration who were lying, (Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al.), who knew they were engaged in a criminal action."

I've heard the accusation that bush lied many times but so far I've not seen any evidence of it. Perhaps it is there but I've missed it. I would love go see the evidence that he lied.

Crimso said...

"that doesn't justify it or mean we had a legal basis to initiate war against Iraq."

They were in violation of UN Res. 687 (which included a formal ceasefire), thereby making them in violation of the ceasefire. IANAL, but it seems to me that violating a ceasefire is both justification and legal grounds for the ceasefire to...cease.

UN Res. 1441 lays it out in some detail, but the chain of logic is that 678 allows members to enforce 660 "and all relevant resolutions subsequent to Resolution 660." 687 (containing among other provisions the formal ceasefire) was clearly relevant. To recap, 678 allows members to enforce 660 and subsequent resolutions (including 687). They were (as per 1441) in violation of 687 (which contains the term "formal ceasefire"). What you saw in 2003 was a resumption of hostilities. You don't have to like the resumption or agree with it, but you'll have to haul the UN itself into the dock if you want to allege war crimes.

Crimso said...

I should add by "war crimes" I was referring to the hostilities that resumed in 2003. I am well aware that you believe Bush and Obama (and others) to be guilty of other war crimes. That is a different argument though.

Robert Cook said...

"Was the US' involvement in the european theater in WWII a war crime? I ask because the "Iraq was a war crime" argument can be applied in other situations."

Of course it can be applied in other situations--in fact, probably most--but not every situation.

Given that we were bombed by Japan and that days later Germany declared war on us, our involvement in WWII was not, in itself, a war crime. We were drawn in to war by direct threats to our nation.

One might argue that our dropping atomic bombs on two civilian cities in Japan, at a time when they were at the point of defeat anyway, were war crimes. (I'd say they were.)

But there is no equivalence between WWII and Iraq. In the former, a powerful and efficient nation state had initiated a war of conquest in Europe, and was well on its way to succeeding in its aims...and had declared war against us; in the latter, we attacked a weak non-aggressive state with little to no power to threaten even its neighbors, (as stated publicly in separate instances by Colin Powell and Condi Rice in the months before 9/11), a state that had not attacked us and who posed absolutely zero threat to us.

Moreover, post-WWII, the United Nations was formed--specifically with the intent to reduce or eliminate wars between nations, a reaction to the ruinous devastation of nations wreaked by the war--and its member nations are held to its charter. Included in the charter's proscribed behaviors is waging aggressive war against member nations (or even threatening war)--that is, engaging in non-defensive war against another nation, unless the action is first approved by a vote of the UN Security Council.

The US sought such a vote for our Iraq invasion but dropped it when it became clear the Security Council--of which we are a member--would not vote in favor of our war.

There's no debate: our invasion of Iraq was a war crime.

(I'd say our invasion of Afghanistan was a war crime, too. )

Mike said...

We could have gone back and smacked down Saddam at any time after the first Gulf War because he signed an armistice that said he would do certain things and would not do certain others, like shoot at our airplanes enforcing the "no fly zone" in the south.

We had very strong, internationally recognized casus belli and the fact that Bush took the time to bring the matter to Congress twice (Dems wanted a "do over" after their "no" votes) and took it to the UN to get friends and allies on board should afford old W some slack from the Freders and Cooks of the world.

But it doesn't. Because the truth never matters to hard core leftists.

Mike said...

To even believe the "Bush lied" fairytale you have to ignore the fact that every single American ally showed the same intelligence assessment for Saddam; ignore that both Bill and Hilary! Clinton said that Saddam was dangerous to the point of needing to go; ignore the fact he had used WMDs on his own people; and ignore the fact Saddam had attempted to assassinate GHW Bush.

Either you were born after 2003 to believe all that or you just choose to ignore the reality that was extant in 2001-2003. All of which is to say that "reality based community" was the lousiest self-named movement in the history of leftism. (This is where Cook throws out the "pox on all their houses" non-sequitur, perhaps indicting Hilary! as a neocon in the process, to avoid acknowledging the truth ...again.)

Matthew Sablan said...

"a state that had not attacked us"

-- Technically, they had (by firing on American planes enforcing the no-fly zone that the previous treaty instituted.) I feel like letting that bit of sleight of word slide is getting old hat.

Iraq had fired on American planes; that is an attack, by definition. You can use other arguments to defend why we should not have invaded. That one is invalid.

Broomhandle said...

"...or was completely duped by those in his administration who were lying"

The last five years in a nutshell.

Illuninati said...

Robert Cook said:

"There's no debate: our invasion of Iraq was a war crime."

When leftists say there is no debate to win a point, that is when I really start to worry. If there really is no debate, then exactly what is going on here at this site? Perhaps you really meant that among the leftists there is no debate?

When you claim that someone is guilty of "war crimes", what do you mean? Who defines war crimes and upon what authority?

Annie said...

FFS, if we're going to rehash the war because BOOOOSH, then let's talk about why we are still there and branching out to embrace the muslim brotherhood - you know, the same guys who are suppposed to be our enemy - and screw around in Egypt (ask their opinion on Obama), Libya (ask Amb. Stevens), while droning 800% more than Bush did throughout the region.

Let's talk about Obama's failure in Afghanistan where more troops died during his first few years than both terms of Bush. More than 70% of the deaths and 80% of the injuries (about 17 to 18,000) have happened under Obama's watch.
Funny how the nightly body counts, by the likes of Brokaw, Gregory, and Matthews, stopped once Obama took office.

But who cares when most of the troops, who were allowed to vote, didn't vote for him. Anyone who votes GOP is the enemy. Right, Obama?

Bush had a coalition against al qaeda. Obama is supporting alqaeda and actively trying to destroy his own country. "We will fundamentally transform America". You like your doctor, we will become you doctor.



Original Mike said...

Irag was a non-aggressive state. Riiiiight.

Robert Cook said...

Matthew Sablan:

One may say also that Iraq was defending its own airspace against intrusions by a hostile and armed enemy force. We would certainly have done the same against military aircraft from Iraq or any other unfriendly nation flying into US airspace.

Iraq was certainly not attacking our mainland, and their firing at armed American aircraft in their skies does not constitute an attack on America. At most, it constitutes an attack on those armed aircraft. If we did not consider that an offense warranting an invasion of Iraq at the time, it certainly cannot be used years after the fact to justify Iraq as a threat to us.

Robert Cook said...

"If there really is no debate, then exactly what is going on here at this site?"

The promulgation of error, lies, or fantasy, depending on who is making the comment. My responses are correctives to those errors, lies, and fantasies.

Robert Cook said...

"'...or was completely duped by those in his administration who were lying'

"The last five years in a nutshell."


No, you excuse Obama too much: in the last five years, Obama has been lying; he is not a dupe of anyone in his administration.

Robert Cook said...

"To even believe the 'Bush lied' fairytale you have to ignore the fact that every single American ally showed the same intelligence assessment for Saddam; ignore that both Bill and Hilary! Clinton said that Saddam was dangerous to the point of needing to go; ignore the fact he had used WMDs on his own people; and ignore the fact Saddam had attempted to assassinate GHW Bush."

You don't know that "every single American ally showed the same intelligence assessment for Saddam;" you don't even know that we really showed intelligence that Saddam had WMD. All you know is what has been claimed. (As James Clapper has proved, government "claims" aren't worth the air they use up to be conveyed.)

To the contrary, we debriefed Saddam's son-in-law, who had briefly defected from Iraq, and who had been in charge of dismantling and destroying Saddam's WMD; he told us they had been destroyed. The UN Weapons Inspectors, before they withdrew--not thrown out, as is said in error or lie--had largely accounted for most of the WMD.

There's also no proof that Hussein had tried to assassinate George Bush the first, only unverified claims to that effect.

jr565 said...

Another similarity in both is the use of the word quagmire. Though, in the case of Iraq, there was a surge and then a victory.

Robert Cook said...

Original Mike,


We encouraged and assisted in Iraq's aggression against Iran.


But Iraq was not an aggressor against us.

jr565 said...

cubanbob wrote:
Notice in his snark he doesn't state what the alternative in Iraq would have been. With all of the flaws, Iraq is still infinitely better off now versus leaving Saddam alive and in power. If Obama had stayed the course it would have been better off now than it is. Same for Afghanistan.

The other thing Freder is mentioning is that regime change and the transition to democracy was already US foreing policy since Clinton's days. The only discusssion at this point was the best way to effect regime change. Clinton's way didnt, and Bush's way did.

jr565 said...

Mike wrote;
To even believe the "Bush lied" fairytale you have to ignore the fact that every single American ally showed the same intelligence assessment for Saddam; ignore that both Bill and Hilary! Clinton said that Saddam was dangerous to the point of needing to go; ignore the fact he had used WMDs on his own people; and ignore the fact Saddam had attempted to assassinate GHW Bush.

Plus that the UN passed 15 RESOLUTIONS all before Bush set foot in office. It's as if the whole history prior to Bush was expunged from their memory banks.

jr565 said...

William wrote:
f the Iraqis had acted in their rational self interest, they would have embraced democracy rather than suicide bombers. If the Democrats had acted in their rational self interest, they would have offered a functional website rather than one that self destructs.

Many did.
The problem was that even though initial invasion went swimmingly, the remnants of the army broke up and joined the guerilla movement. ANd plus Al Qaeda decided to make Iraq one of their primary fronts to fight us. For those who were not party loyalists or Al Qaeda, they were trying to move on to something different. Just because there were a lot of suicide bombers we shouldnt' peg all the Iraqis with this crime.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
He was lying...or was completely duped by those in his administration who were lying, (Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al.), who knew they were engaged in a criminal action.

As was the previous administration and as was the UN. So, if everyone is lying, doesn't that make singling Bush out for the crime of lying silly?
IF everyone was lying though, why were libs so gungho about Al Gore winning the election (since he was the VP at the time overseeing the lies of the Cliton adminstration towards Iraq). And why are libs so gungho about having us putting our trust in the UN. Since they were lying 15 times as they passed resolution after rsolution.

Illuninati said...

Robert Cook said:
"The promulgation of error, lies, or fantasy, depending on who is making the comment. My responses are correctives to those errors, lies, and fantasies."

Let's see if I get it. We aren't really having a debate here because everyone who disagrees with Mr. Cook is a liar, is misinformed or lives in fantasy land? To be a true debate Mr. Cook's opponents should be more worthy?

Rusty said...

Illuninati said...
Robert Cook said:
"The promulgation of error, lies, or fantasy, depending on who is making the comment. My responses are correctives to those errors, lies, and fantasies."

Let's see if I get it. We aren't really having a debate here because everyone who disagrees with Mr. Cook is a liar, is misinformed or lives in fantasy land? To be a true debate Mr. Cook's opponents should be more worthy?

You have to approach him as a sort of comic. It's the only way he makes any sense.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
We encouraged and assisted in Iraq's aggression against Iran.

But Iraq was not an aggressor against us.

So we're to be damnded for supporting the dictator but also damned for not supporting the dictator.

jr565 said...

Rusty wrote:
Let's see if I get it. We aren't really having a debate here because everyone who disagrees with Mr. Cook is a liar, is misinformed or lives in fantasy land? To be a true debate Mr. Cook's opponents should be more worthy?

You have to approach him as a sort of comic. It's the only way he makes any sense.

In Robert Cook's world the only good guy is Iraq. Not the US under either adminsitration, and not the international community, and not even the UN. They're all in on the lie!

Drago said...

jr565: " It's as if the whole history prior to Bush was expunged from their memory banks."

For leftists, history starts anew each and every day.

That's why they never have to explain their unending string of failure and mass murder, all for the common good, naturally.

Cedarford said...

rhhardin said...
The invasion of Iraq was briefly enough to straighten out the entire region.

It fell apart thanks to the Democrat strategy of playing up militarily insignificant terrorist attacks as signs of its failure.

=================
No, it failed because instead of a "beat up the Ba'athists", make Saddam and henchmen dead or prisoner and get the hell out as Franks and Rumsfeld wanted...Bush soaked up some Neocon and Anatoly Sharansky idiocy that Iraq could be nation-transformed into a pro-West, pro-Israel democracy.

And stuck us right in the middle of an unwinnable Iraqi Sunni-vs. - our noble prple fingered Shiite freedom-loving "friends".

The Dems did some detestable things like try and make Abu Ghraib into the Nazi death camps in war crime equivalent. But Bush was such a pawn of the Neocons, Israel by that point and not listening to Pappy Bush or James Baker that it fell to the Democrats to say it was a bad war and Bush had a failed Presidency.

Cedarford said...

Henry makes a good point. The great Bush screwup on Iraq was him listening to the absolute wrong sort of Wilsonian messianic neocons and people that stood to make billions off a long, large war providing services to "The Heroes". It was The Decider seduced by nation-builders into making Iraq nothing like the Gulf War but more like Vietnam in the name of saving the wonderful Iraqi Freedom lovers.

That could have been stopped in a few days with a Bush purge of those who gave ruinous advice.

But Obamacare can't be fixed by shuffling new people to replace the bunglers. It is more than the website mess the Republicans seem unable to move past and see the bigger picture.
It is structural. It is built such that it cannot be mended without violating the law, on matters like dropping 8 million health insurance policies. If he tries a Presidential edict, somebody hurt will take it to court and Obama is stopped because he never fixed the law.
And Obama and the Democrat Congress failed basic economic common sense. Give it for free to illegal aliens and welfare mammies and they chilluns...offer big discounts to lower wage older people, add dozens of new bells and whistles. Exempt tens of millions of well paid "connected" union people, and employees at businesses that Dems got big money from - from chipping in to finance. Expect it all to be financed by younger people who get to choose between a wristslap penalty, put a huge chunk of what money they make into a healthcare system they for the most part will not use much, or become like the welfare mammies...work off the books, spend everything..have no assets. Then expect "free health, free dental, etc,

Jason said...

C-fudd…

I stopped reading each comment at "neocons."

Try some other dog whistles, bigot.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SGT Ted said...

The invasion of Iraq was far more successful than the O-Care rollout and had many more moving parts. Of course that was due to competent people being in charge of it, instead of a pack of over-credentialled leftist suck-ups that think competence consists of signing off on memos, holding meetings and calling critics "racists", while wearing their Wesleyan Alumni pin.

SGT Ted said...

Iraq = "war crime" only if you are a shit house lawyer, like Cook. I know more about the Law of Air and Land Battle than Cook; I was trained and I have read it myself. Cook has no such qualifications. He just parrots the boilerplate that all leftists use against the USAs wars. There is no legal validity to his accusation. Only leftwing hatred of the US Military.

I bet Cook called Vietnam Vets "War criminals" too. Because, that's what he is doing when he accuses Bush of "committing war crimes". By extension, he is accusing those of us that were there. We followed Bushes orders, which makes us complicit in the war crimes. You cannot separate us from Bush in that regard.

The only "war crime" was leaving Saddam in power after Desert Shield/Desert Storm for an extra decade to commit genocidal acts on both the Shiites and the Kurds.

AIF and Iranian Quds force led terror cells composed of foreign Jihadists committed actual war crimes by killing far more Iraqi civilians than we did during the occupation in deliberate terrorist attacks on civilian targets. The "100,000 dead" is a statistical bullshit lie from the leftist enablers of Saddam Hussein.

You are such a douche, Cook. Its like reading a holocaust denier call the liberators of Buchenwald "war criminals".

We lost 2,200 in one day at Normandy. 12,000 men and 2000 aircraft were lost from the Air Forces alone in the 2 months paving the way for D-Day.

4,400 killed over 7-8 years is what makes it "Militarily insignificant". Are you retarded due to birth defects, Freder? Or is it just partisanship that negates your reasoning ability?

SGT Ted said...

Cook isn't qualified to make the accusations he is making. He is a lefty parrot, using the same lies used to smear Vietnam Vets as "baby killers" and 'war criminals".