Blame America First

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

"How did things get so FUBAR in Iraq?  It’s not Bush, Cheney, or Rumsfeld’s fault.  It’s the American people’s who stabbed Bush in the back."

Josh Marshall has enlightening pieces on this new meme emerging from the political right.

He’s quite correct.  Three years ago, the American people were largely in favor of invading Iraq.  This included many on the political left, provided however that (a) it could be shown there were WMDs or some imminent threat and (b) there was an international consensus so that many soldiers can get the job done and not get everyone bogged in a quagmire.  But Bush (and his supporters who are now complaining) failed to make a strong fact-based case for invading Iraq, choosing instead to attack the patriotism of those who demanded better intelligence.  And when it came to getting more boots on the ground, Bush and Rummy thumbed their nose at the U.N., and boasted how they could do "more with less".

Setting aside the notion of whether or not is was prudent to invade Iraq, there is no doubt that the venture was executed poorly and without a plan.  This is a strategic failure, and the fault lies solely with the strategists — not the American people.

In a related whine. Jonah Goldberg writes this today:

Indeed, when partisans claim that the American people are fed up and want our troops home, they’re deliberately muddying the waters. The American people have never objected to far-flung deployments of our troops. We’ve had soldiers stationed all over the world for decades.

What the American people don’t like is losing — lives or wars. After all, you don’t hear many people complaining that we still have troops in Japan and Germany more than 20,000 days later.

Uh, who is muddying the waters?  Jonah, sit down.  People aren’t complaining that our troops are far-flung; they’re complaining that they’re getting shot at and killed for what appears to be no good reason at all.  Is this happening with our troops in Japan and Germany?  No.  So your comprison is, well, bizarre.

UPDATE:  And props to the NYT editorial today:

Mr. Bush’s lack of curiosity was well known even before he became president, but as time has gone on and bad news has mounted, that disinterested quality has turned into a stubborn refusal to hear bad news. The country simply cannot afford it any longer. Three years of having Mr. Bush trust only his gut has plunged Iraq into bloody chaos and done untold damage to America. There needs to be an urgent change in policy.

The president’s advisers need to tell him all the harsh truths about Iraq in the vivid terms they require; they need to tell him how little time he has left to act. This administration has been orchestrating a foreign policy disaster of epic proportions, and history will remember both that the president failed to hear the warning bells and that many others failed to ring them loudly enough.