The most egregious thing about Marty Peretz’s gloating, celebratory piece about Iraq is what’s not there: even a single mention of the human or economic cost. I’m not kidding. About 4,000 American lives were lost in Iraq, and tens of thousands more were wounded — some quite horribly. Yet, Peretz does not think it necessary to write one word about that, or even refer to it — at all. And he gets criticized for the omission in the comments section.
Then there is Peretz’s nakedly racist treatment of Arabs, which he flaunts in the very first paragraph:
There were moments–long moments–during the Iraq war when I had my doubts. Even deep doubts. Frankly, I couldn’t quite imagine any venture like this in the Arab world turning out especially well. This is, you will say, my prejudice. But some prejudices are built on real facts, and history generally proves me right. Go ahead, prove me wrong.
Barbara O’Brien takes on Peretz’s exceedingly weak grounds for declaring that “the verdict … on the long American excursion in Iraq … is favorable.”
He bases the argument that invading Iraq was “right” on three “pronunciamientos” — his word, not mine –
- Gordon Brown said so.
- Tom Ricks thinks it’s too soon to evacuate. (To me, the question of when and how to leave is separate from the question of whether we should have gone in the first place.)
- Fouad Ajami said so. Fouad Ajami is the new Ahmed Chalabi. In fact, he’s an old pal of Ahmed Chalabi who no doubt noted the, um, opportunities to be had in playing the role of “good Iraqi” to delusional neocons.
Barbara also punctures the oft-stated and widely accepted idea that the United States won in Iraq because Saddam Hussein is gone and the insurgency was defeated (aka “the surge worked” meme):
Over the past several months I’ve tripped over a bucketful of arguments that the invasion of Iraq should be considered a success because Saddam Hussein is dead and Iraq is now more or less a republic. Yes, but as I remember our objectives at the beginning of the invasion were (1) destroying al Qaeda — didn’t happen — and (2) saving the world from Saddam Hussein’s dreaded weapons of mass destruction — which didn’t exist.
Basically, the apologists are saying that the invasion was justified because we’ve cleaned up some of the mess we made doing it.
My emphasis, because this simple point is so rarely made even by liberal bloggers — at least from what I have seen — although it is the most obvious and salient reason why the surge’s success says nothing about the success or validity of the larger war, or the decision to invade Iraq in the first place.