The continuing Iraq debacle

21 June, 2006

I can’t look at anything about Iraq without finding it depressing. Three years later we’ve 2500+ US soldiers, a few hundred other coalition troops, thousands of Iraq police and army and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed.

The power supply is bumping along at near pre-war levels (its better outside Baghdad and much worse in Baghdad). Few other indicators are better than pre-war. – for these stats check the Brookings institute Iraq Index.

I’ve never believed that the external imposition of “freedom” was likely to succeed. While I believe that Iraq should be democratic, I think the Iraqis have to come at it on their own, and I question the real value of democracy if it is simple majoritarianism, rather than liberal democracy with basis rights of individuals respected. Better than dictatorship, but a long way from we in the West think of as a democratic state.

Then we read this leaked memo from the US Embassy in Iraq to the White House, and I begin to question whether the continued occupation has past the point where it is more hindrance than help to establishing a viable state for Iraq.
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Iraq Casualties

10 May, 2006

I had been hoping that the seeming dip in the number of coalition troops killed in Iraq during the early part of the year particularly March, had been the beginning of a downward trend. Unfortunately it seems from the next month and a bit, that they have been making up for lost time.

The depressing thing about this is that while US casualties have remained fairly constant over the last couple of years the number of Iraqi troops and police getting killed has increased, even if it is down from its peak mid last year.

Death stats are a miserable thing to ponder, but they do give us one concrete measure of how things are going in Iraq.

Am I right for the wrong reasons

4 May, 2006

I was strongly opposed to the Iraq war. The reasons for my opposition were as follows

  • Saddam was not in any significant way aiding Al Qaeda
  • While Iraq may have retained some WMD, they were not in sufficient quantities to be a big threat
  • The cost in lives and money was not worth the effort and they could have been more usefully employed elsewhere
  • I should note that I did support the war in Afghanistan. There was an obvious link there to the Taliban aiding and harbouring Al Qaeda. Furthermore the current oppression of the Taliban was worse as far as I can tell than what was currently occurring in Iraq and likely to occur in the near future. I’ll also note I don’t care much for arguments about whether the war was legal or not. Other than giving vague guidance about suitable behaviour, I don’t think that international law is worth much because it can be broken without penalty by pretty much anyone.

    Of these three points I feel justified that the first was correct, the second as it turns out was more than correct – he didn’t even retain the old stockpiles I thought he might have. The big one though is point three which I don’t think can be definitively answered for many years yet although its certainly looking as though it going to be correct at the current time. My doubt is because the reasons I based my decision on aren’t the same as what has panned out.

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