26 March 2007

"What a Waste"

From two different opinion pieces in the Economist, 22 March 2007 issue.

"If only
It is not enough to say with the neocons that this [invasion and occupation of Iraq] was a good idea executed badly. Their own ideas are partly to blame. Too many people in Washington were fixated on proving an ideological point: that America's values were universal and would be digested effortlessly by people a world away. But plonking an American army in the heart of the Arab world was always a gamble. It demanded the highest seriousness and careful planning. Messrs Bush and Rumsfeld chose instead to send less than half the needed soldiers and gave no proper thought to the aftermath.
"What a waste. Most Iraqis rejoiced in the toppling of Saddam. They trooped in their millions to vote. What would Iraq be like now if America had approached its perilous, monumentally controversial undertaking with humility, honesty and courage? Thanks to the almost criminal negligence of Mr Bush's administration nobody, now, will ever know."

Within this editorial is a table that offers these statistics about Iraqi opinions.

62% of Iraqis think that things are about the same or worse than before the war. 74% don’t feel safe in their own neighborhood. 78% don’t support the coalition (read American) forces in Iraq. And 51% think it is okay to attack our troops. Finally, what do we get for all our bloodshed and money? 56% want either someone who rules for life or a theocracy.

"The man who will pay the biggest political price for Iraq will ultimately be Mr Bush. It is hardly surprising that liberal historians debate whether he is the worst president ever. But now conservatives are beginning to play the same game. A recent poll of hard-core conservative activists found that only 3% described themselves as George Bush Republicans, compared with 79% who regarded themselves as Ronald Reagan Republicans. But the damage will not be limited to the party leader. For years to come, the Republicans will be paying a collective price for the “stuff” that happened in Iraq."

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