Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans.On Sunday Bill Kristol refused to share the blame with the same incompetent Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, that he supported just three years ago.
Signatory William Kristol's Weekly Standard, for example, gave little consideration to the estimates of then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, who held that it would likely take hundreds of thousands of troops over a decade to secure Iraq; one Standard writer tacitly praised Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld for publicly rebuking the general. Indeed, the pages of the Standard in spring 2003 were confident on every front, proudly boasting of copious support from "coalition forces." Signatory Max Boot held, contra Shinseki's estimate, that a mere 65,000-70,000 US troops would be adequate to secure Iraq's future. Signatory Thomas Donnelly declared Iraq a victory with little possibility of a serious insurgency. ("The street-by-street slogging long predicted never materialized.... If there ever was an Iraqi plan for bleeding U.S. or British forces in urban combat, it could not cope either with the British care and precision in Basra or with the boldness of the American attack into Baghdad.")Mark Danner thinks that Iraq will be the neocon's Waterloo and they know it.
I should add that, in my view, the era of neocon leadership is clearly coming to an end. The impression that they were ever entirely in control is wrong in any event and the vanguard of the neocons has obviously been blunted by the great failure of Iraq -- because their assumption of preponderant American power turned out not to be true. Napoleon had this wonderful line that you can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it. Military power is good for blowing things up; it's good for destroying things. It's not good for building a new order. It takes a great deal more power, skill, and patience to construct an enduring order in Iraq. The United States doesn't have sufficient power; it doesn't have the skill; and we know it doesn't have the patience. One part of the Axis of Evil has been occupied -- you can think of it as the part of the Axis that has sacrificed itself to make way for the greater freedom (freedom from attack, freedom perhaps to build nuclear weapons) of North Korea and Iran. Although I think the U.S. has dealt with Iran rather cleverly in the last few months, they're playing a very weak hand. After all, the use of military force against Iran is now out of the question in large part because of the disaster next door in Iraq and the way Iran's hand has been strengthened by that disaster."So we are not safer because of the invasion of Iraq but the remaining members of the "Axis of Evil" certainly are. Thanks Bill Kristol.