Monday, January 18, 2010

O'Hanlon and Pollack plead for Iraq's democracy

 . . in this op-ed in today's NYT.  It's certainly a timely piece, and spot-on in terms of what the Iraq Election Commission's ban of 500 Sunni politicians may mean for the future of Iraq's "democracy" (such as it was).

But the authors of this essay must be sweating blood over this turn of events.  Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack were two of the loudest and persistent cheerleaders for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 - and Pollack in particular provided the pro-invasion bunch with a veneer of academic pseudo-respectability with his 2002 book The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq, where he argued
"the only prudent and realistic course of action left to the United States is to mount a full-scale invasion of Iraq to smash the Iraqi armed forces, depose Saddam’s regime, and rid the country of weapons of mass destruction. . . .  It is unimaginable that the United States would have to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars and highly unlikely that we would have to contribute even tens of billions of dollars.” Likewise, he wrote, “we should not exaggerate the danger of casualties among American troops. U.S. forces in Bosnia have not suffered a single casualty from hostile action because they have become so attentive and skillful at force protection.”
Hammered for being so wrong about so much as the Iraq occupation unfolded, Pollack's rep was rescued somewhat by the "success" of the "Surge" in Iraq, which led oh-so-many to claim that the US had "succeeded" or even "won" in Iraq.  But Iraq remains very much up for grabs, and the election ban only pushes the country closer again to sectarian conflict, even as the Arab-Kurd conflict simmers in the north.

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