Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » September 2004 » Former U.S. Senator Tom Eagleton weighs in on Iraq....

[« Quite a ride, I'd bet....] [Juan Cole says it much better than I could.... »]

09/30/2004: Former U.S. Senator Tom Eagleton weighs in on Iraq....

and I hope someone in power is paying attention (and that some Missouri voters--as well as voters in other states--are paying attention too): IRAQ: One word says it all: Disaster

President George W. Bush often asks, rhetorically, "Isn't the world better off with Saddam Hussein out of power?" The answer is no, no, no. Saddam, a brutal dictator, is in jail. That's good. But we have paid a bloody, awful price; a price we will be paying for years to come. The Iraq we created now is an international menace, a citadel for terrorism far more dangerous than the declining Saddam regime we deposed. Sometimes, the cure really is worse than the disease.

The next president will do a "song and dance" routine with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He will ask for combat troops, and that request will be refused, of course. The dying in Iraq is and will be left to us.

The next president will then ask NATO to undertake and pay for a massive training program of Iraqi soldiers and police. But the United States is the cash register for Iraq and will remain so. That, at least, makes it possible that NATO would play a role in such a training program - but on our credit card.

Remember the Nixon-Kissinger "peace with honor" policy in the Vietnam War? While that administration dithered creating a South Vietnamese army that was - on paper, anyway - the fourth largest, best equipped force in the world, 15,760 U.S. soldiers were killed in action. Yet most analysts, even at the time, knew that the policy amounted to a velvet "cut and run," an empty gesture to provide face-saving cover for an American withdrawal.

That won't work in Iraq. There can be no finger-crossing or winks. Our blundering, horrid misadventure in Iraq has to succeed, and it will take years and years.

Pay no attention to Bush and Rumsfeld when they say "We expected this" or "The insurgents are desperate" or "Things are improving" in Iraq. It's pure drivel. The insurgents have an inexhaustible supply of suicide bombers. Our army, the still-pitiful Iraqi army and the people of Iraq are getting clobbered.

Len on 09.30.04 @ 06:54 PM CST

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September 2004

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