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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

How the GOP lost Iraq

Guess voting wasn't enough for them.

You know, it's been amusing to see Glenn Reynolds and the chickenhawk brigade talk about the liberals and the media losing the war in Iraq. Ah, personal responsibility for everyone but thee, right?

But as we spiral out of control in Iraq, let's talk about how our conservative friends have helped destroy any chance of a Democratic Iraq and instead help deliver it into the hands of Iran.

1) The Coalition Provisional Authority

So many of the CPA's employees were hired for their reliability, not any skill in managing anything. You had CPA employees worrying about judicial review and flat taxes instead of running water and reliable power. They brought their US concerns to Iraq, which needed NGO professionals to help rebuild the country. Instead they got Heritage Foundation waitlisters.

While young and eager, mostly for their six figure salaries, few, if any, understood the Arab world, much less spoke Arabic. So they wrote papers, spent money and had no clue. The Iraqis paid for this

2) Dick Cheney

At every turn, he backed the wrong horse. He was Rumsfeld's protector in the White House, isolated Colin Powell and State and refused to realize when the Iraq project was turning sour. He kept expecting reality to meet his fantasies and it never did. He was the primary backer of Chalabi, the supporter of sending underarmed units to Iraq and the main backer of "preemptive war". Yet, he was too inflexible to suggest other, more proactive strategies, to prevent violence and limit the role of the clerics and militias. By relying so heavily on exiles, they bought into their limited ideas of Iraq and could only fail

3) The Congress

Instead of supporting the troops and making sure they were armed, they blew smoke and did almost nothing. Proper Congressional oversight could have prevented Abu Gharib and the worst abuses of the US in Iraq. It could have also pushed along reconstruction. Instead, people wanted it all, a premature victory in Iraq, tax cuts and scaring Iran.

Instead, a religious nut is now president of Iran, Iraq is about to collapse into a civil war which will place the nationalist Moqtada Sadr as the ultimate ruler of Iraq, a state openly hostile to the United States. One could argue that this would have been the outcome once Saddam disappeared anyway, but the US hastened the process along by years.

Congress failed over and over to actively oversee US activity in Iraq and hold companies accountable. They failed to demand that DOD supply proper vehicle and body armor. They refused to control the use of Reservists and Guardsmen to the point that the states are screaming.

In short, the GOP led Congress has refused to carry out their basic Consititutional responsibilites, instead backing Bush and his ill-fated war.

4) Pundits

Like the President, the right from columnists to bloggers have engaged in the grossest form of intellectual dishonesty. Too cowardly to enlist, shirking when asked, they created an environment where tormented the parents of the dead was legitimate political debate. Quick to use words like treason and cowardice while revelling in the deaths of others, not only have they been slow to join the fight, but do little to support veterans

It was bad enough they attacked Cindy Sheehan without understand why she was so upset. Her son was a mechanic. He was not supposed to be on patrol in Sadr City, but because his unit was short infantry, that's what he did. And he died doing it and she never got an honest answer why.

They also reveled in the elections, which created the current mess. The Kurds, Shia and Sunni don't trust each other, which is what led to the current spate of killing. At every turn, they offer fantasy and blind loyalty at a time when patriotism would demand holding Bush and his administration to the highest standards. When you mention this, they twist history and create fact to shape their argument.

They pretend we can control events, even when we can't. And they deserve some of the blame for that, because they created an uncritical environment where only praise was tolerated when our soldiers needed brutal honesty and support. Metal ribbons and cheap words are not support, they are indifference with a smile. Indifference to the fate of thousands of veterans who come home to broken marriages, bad health care and lost jobs. To them, war is a Michael bay movie and when it ends, they move on.

When asked, it will be as much Republican refusal to deal with the reality of an increasingly failed and dangerous war in Iraq, as any political victories created by the Shia and their Iranian allies. They created a fantasy world of elections and Iraqi Army training while real American soldiers were returning home with a burning hatred of Arabs and severe psychological problems.

They failed this country because they couldn't adapt to unpleasant realities. And like our doomed support of Chang Kai Shek, the end will be the same. No matter how much money we put in, we will lose Iraq, but because of any fifth column, but because of feckless Republicans, too cowardly to change course and put the country above their party.