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From Heroes To Targets

Salon.com is a decidedly left-leaning media source, but I found this article to be a well-written examination of the distance between the neocon/PNAC vision of how the war on Iraq would turn out, and reality. It’s quite a distance.

I haven’t been posting a lot of stories about how the war over there is failing, even though I read a lot of those. No point in beating a dead horse, really—and this isn’t an anti-war site as much as it’s an anti- world-domination-based-foreign-policy site. However, it’s very important to understand that there is that distance between the PNAC vision of the U.S. flexing its world-power muscles, and what the targets of our flexion see. And as long as there is that distance, things will not turn out like the PNAC visionaries have envisioned.

This excerpt is fairly long, as is the article itself. Both are worthy of their length, I think.

(Brief ad view or paid Salon.com membership needed to read full article.)

Salon.com News | From heroes to targets

The U.S. occupation of Iraq has turned into a daily debacle, say experts, because the Washington ideologues who planned the war were living in a fantasy. – - – - – - – - – - – -
By Michelle Goldberg

July 18, 2003 | The Pentagon hawks who planned for postwar Iraq assumed American troops would be welcomed with flowers and gratitude. They assumed Saddam’s regime could be decapitated but the body of the state left intact, to be administered by American advisors and handpicked Iraqis. They assumed that other countries, despite their opposition to the war, would come around once they saw how right America was, and would assist in Iraq’s reconstruction.

The war’s architects placed such unyielding faith in their assumptions that when they all turned out to be wrong, there was no Plan B.

Now, demoralized American forces are being attacked more than a dozen times a day and nearly every day an American soldier is killed. Iraqis are terrorized by violent crime; they lack water, electricity and jobs. With gunfire echoing through the night and no fans to stir the desert heat, people can’t sleep and nerves are brittle. The number of troops on the ground is proving inadequate to restore order, but reinforcements, much less replacements, aren’t readily available, and foreign help is not forthcoming. Saddam Hussein, like Osama bin Laden, is still at large. The White House now says the occupation will cost nearly $4 billion a month. While American fortunes could always improve, on Wednesday, Gen. John P. Abizaid, the new commander in Iraq, said American troops are fighting a guerrilla war, contradicting the sanguine rhetoric coming from the administration.

America isn’t losing the peace. The peace never began.

The current chaos in Iraq, many experts say, is the inevitable result of grandiose neoconservative ideology smacking into reality. The neocons underestimated the Iraqis’ nationalism and their mistrust of America. They were so convinced that a bright new Middle Eastern future would inevitably spring from military victory that they failed to prepare for any other scenario. “Everything derives from a very defective understanding of what Iraq was like,” says retired Col. Pat Lang, who served as the Pentagon’s chief of Middle Eastern intelligence from 1985 until 1992 and who has closely followed the discussions over the Iraq war and its aftermath. “It was a massive illusion that the neocons had. It all flows from that.”

Full story…


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