THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. Welcome to the Home of Hyperopia.: On Predictions about Wartime - Part 1

Thursday, December 28, 2006

On Predictions about Wartime - Part 1

So the war in Iraq is not going "as expected." So we haven't yet fulfilled the "mission accomplished" promise. So American politicians are testing lots of ideas in the polling marketplace, hoping to find something they can sell. So most of the ideas they're tossing around are some combination of immoral, misguided, stupid, cynical, and bad.

The interesting thing is I haven't heard very many of today's politicians or media types talking about the group of people who predicted -- correctly -- the current situation in Iraq, in some cases before or shortly after the war began ... all the way back in 2003.

It seems to me that if there were a group of people who were wise enough, prescient enough, or even lucky enough to have correctly predicted what the Iraq war would look like today four or five years ago, it would be prudent to see what those same people are saying today.

If they were right in the past about the present, maybe they're right in the present about the future.

For you skeptics who think I'm peddling snake oil, here's links to some articles to support my accurate claims that there are smart, insightful people out there in the world whose views were correct (and I submit are still correct), even if they aren't celebrated by mainstream media or prominent politicians.

Sometime in the near future I'll present for you some recent recommendations and predictions from these guys. But for today let's just have a look at what they were saying the future would look like way back at the beginning of the debacle.

* * * * *

Here's some from Lew Rockwell, who said in an article published March 6, 2003: "What's more, an attack will only further destabilize the region and recruit more terrorists intent on harming us."

Here's some from Ron Paul, the only federal level policitican I am aware of that I respect. His integrity, his constancy are enormously respectable. Plus he's damn wise. He's a man of clarity. In thought and deed.

Here's some from William Lind, a military man with a great deal of military history between his ears.

Here's one from Martin Van Crevald, a war historian and scholar who has written lots of books. One of which I got for Christmas, to the surprise and puzzlement of my family.

Photo Credit: here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on the title, I thought this post was going to be about predictions, not finger pointing...

In retrospect the decision to go to Iraq is looking more and more suspect. That fact has been debated for three years now. It's time to figure out where we go from here.

1. Go big
2. Go long
3. Go home

(Bush seems to be leaning toward a little bit of 1 and a lot of 2)

The best stuff I've read on Iraq and the greater WoT is from Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

The Only Option is to Win
Knowing Our Enemies

7:47 AM, December 29, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

I don't know about finger pointing; that wasn't my direct intent.

My intent was to spread the news: there are people in the world who correctly predicted how the Iraq war would play out.

My primary motivation for wanting to share this information is that I hear pundits and politicians alike sounding surprised about the situation in Iraq and about how it has developed.

So the facts are:

There is a group of people who made incorrect predictions about the future.

There is a group of people who made correct predictions about the future.

I have a question (which is the way I would like to communicate this point):

Who should we be listening to today? The people who got it wrong or the people who got it right?

If your answer is that we should be listening to the people who got it wrong, I would be curious to know why. One person I spoke to about this originally said that he actually was not at all interested to know who the people were who got it right before the war. And that he was not at all interested in what the people who got it right before the war had to say about the current situation and the best way forward from here.

That is an absolutely stunning, appalling, DANGEROUS attitude for any intelligent, sensible person to have.

I think it is considerably more likely that people who got it right before will get it right again, especially on this issue.

What did Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum say about the war back in 2003? Do you have any thing to document their views?


11:35 AM, December 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Similarly, the articles you offer give no indication as to what these authors see as solutions going forward.

I like the last piece by Lind. I think he's right that nation-building is often a losing proposition, at best. I would like to see what he (as well as Paul and Rackwell) thinks is now our best strategy in Iraq.

BTW - I think we agree that from this point in history, looking back, the decision for invasion was poor.

5:07 PM, December 29, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

Ah, now you're singing my tune. Or at least anticipating the next strain, I mean.

I will provide as recommended reading some of the current articles being written by these same astute observers.

I assure you they will make markedly different recommendations from the comments of Messrs. Gingrich and Santorum you linked above!

In a nutshell, they like option #3. But I'll let them tell you about it.

As an aside, I am hugely interested in what William Lind has to say. His analysis is so startling and, to me, so insightful and accurate. Of course he also makes a lot of pretty bleak predictions so it's also sobering. I would highly commend to you all of the articles in his archive (you can find his archive at the bottom of any of the articles of his that I linked, I believe).


5:26 PM, December 29, 2006  
Blogger PDD said...

Okay, not to sound like a pompous egotistical ass, but I have to say that I have had this conversation in the past; how the war in Iraq would become a complete disaster instead of shuffling in a few troops, scare off... whoever, and go home. No, this is not the case. It never was the case, nor will it ever be the case.

The problem is, and I am not just saying Americans, I am speaking about a vast majority of nations, there are not a lot of people in the media who have really disected and understood the history of Iraq. Iraq has a deep and rich history of over 5000 yrs. Mesopotopia is one of the oldest civilizations. In fact, Mesopotopia has been refered to as the "cradle of civilization". It was unfortunately the mecca of invasion. It's decline and uprisings have manifested cyclically. It's been rich and it's been poor, and rich again, and poor again etc. etc. This has been going on for a very long time. It is filled with a history of tyranny and that doesn't go away in one breath.

The point is, Iraq's history is too convoluted to make sweeping statements such as, "Iraq is making progress and is working swiftly towards a Democratic society".

Democracy doesn't happen over night. Besides, creating democracy was never the impetus to going to war. But somehow everyone has jumped on that bandwagaon.

And yet, everyone wonders why? Why has the war lasted this long? It was only intended as a threat, to go in and come out without any wounds. What baffles me is exactly that, not any thought put towards how it was never going to be easy, and in fact, a disaster.

Garrett, I have had this conversation, just before the war in march 2003. While I had a few people who totally understood what I was saying in terms of people not understanding the history of Iraq and therefore the future failure of Americans war with "terroists", the others thought I was completely insane.

But I know it's only because they only just learned of a place called baghdad the night before.

2:50 AM, December 31, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

Is Mesopotopia anywhere near Fairytopia?


Now, seriously, thanks for stopping by. Your points are sound.

My personal view actually is that President Bush has still never articulated the real reason he attacked Iraq in the first place. And he won't every articulate the real reason, because it's un-American.

My personal view is that the real reason he attacked Iraq in the first place is simply that they have a lot of oil. And American doesn't. So rather than hope that Iraqis continued to want to sell oil to us, in other words rather than rely on economics to drive whether Americans have access to oil, President Bush decided to just go and take some oil by force.

No other justification explains the magnitude of U.S. infrastructure being built in Iraq, including enormous airfields and embassies.

And all the other justifications were and are bullshit propaganda.

And everybody knows it.

So one interesting thing to contemplate is whether it is actually in the best interests of Americans for President Bush to take Iraqi oil by force.

It's easy to say "Yes" to that question. After all, it is entirely possible that if the U.S. hadn't conquered Iraq, Saddam Hussein would have decided to sell all his oil to China. And Americans would have had none. And that would have been a very bleak time for Americans.

But that end-of-the-world analysis assumes a lot of facts in evidence and overlooks the absolutely most important fact of all about the whole thing.



In fact, it's a violation of one of the Ten Commandments.

And the key fact assumed that is not in evidence, in my view, is the assumption that Saddam Hussein (or whoever was controlling Iraqi oil) would do something that is contrary to his economic interests. In other words, if Americans had the means to BUY oil at a price higher than the price Chinese were willing to pay for it, everyone selling oil in the marketplace would come and sell it to Americans instead of Chinese.

The market works.

Bullshit doesn't, and neither does theft.

There is a lot to be said for taking actions that have moral integrity. In the end, the truth will be revealed and justice will be done.

Spinning bullshit doesn't have moral integrity. Stealing doesn't have moral integrity.

Being the customer and offering the highest price required to buy the goods in an exchange brought about by the free will of the buyer and the seller does have moral integrity.

8:53 AM, December 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tend to agree that the real reason for the invasion has yet to be articulated, but I 100% disagree that it all about availability of Iraqi oil.

There was no reason whatsoever to think that Iraq would cease selling its oil on the open market. It wouldn't have mattered if Saddam stopped selling his oil to US companies, either (as if that would even be possible in today's global marketplace). US companies could simply have bought more from other sources, and let the French buy all the Iraqi oil.

My belief is that the real reason was from an honest belief by the PNAC/Neocon team that Iraq could be the cornerstone of a new middle east. Those guys believed that Iraqis would enjoy freedom enough for Iraq to become a bastion of democracy in the arab world. In the shadow of 9/11, the Neocons/PNAC thought this was the best way to combat the spread of Islamic fanaticism. History may be proving them wrong, but I do not believe their intentions to be either diabolical or "unamerican."

7:56 PM, December 31, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

I hope you're right, buddy.

I really, really do.

Note there's an internal inconsistency though, in what you said. You said on the one hand that you tend to agree that the real reason for the invasion has yet been published. Then you said that you think the real reason was a plan to re-make the middle East.

But politicians have already tried and I think are still even trying to sell that answer (isn't that "nation building"). I think that's one of the Bush administration's justifications.

So if they haven't said publicly what THEIR real reason is, what do you think their real reason is?

Just as an aside, if making Iraq a cornerstone of a new middle east was the real reason, that is massively and utterly immoral.

There is only one God. And he isn't a human being.

8:16 PM, December 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should have put more effort in to explaining "new middle east." The end goal was to combat islam fanatisicm through democracy and freedom. This plan was directly tailored to protecting the national security of the United States.

...or at least that's one idea.

9:41 PM, December 31, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

Ah, I understood your original concept. And that is a reasonable summary of the way politicians' minds operate and how governments' objectives are phrased.

The fascinating part is that what is achieved by governments, almost universally, is the opposite of their stated goals.

So if the government told us that it thought invading Iraq was the best way to reduce the threat of terrorism to Americans, we should have known (and the people whose articles I linked in my post that started this discussion DID know) that the result would in fact be the opposite of that -- the world would be a much more dangerous place and Americans would be much more likely to be killed or injured by terrorism after the invasion than we were before.

10:40 PM, December 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's all well and good, but now we're back where we started:

What now?

11:11 PM, December 31, 2006  
Blogger crallspace said...

The war was a lost cause from the start... I left a response to your comment on my desire for raised taxes, by the way.

1:54 AM, January 01, 2007  
Blogger garrett said...

Chris - What now is a goal blog entry for the next week or two.

Dan - I saw your comment and left you a reply. Definitely agree the war was a lost cause from the beginning. It always is.

3:26 PM, January 01, 2007  

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