Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A failure in leadership and planning

Don't tend to write about Iraq on here. Not because I don't care, not because I don't have an opinion, not because I don't know much about it; I do, for all of the above. But because it's happened, it's an ongoing mess, and we simply have to accept that our ofrces are stuck there, and hope that, in the long term, things work out. For that to happen, of course, we'd need a political leadership that is prepared to admit to reality.

I opposed the war. Not because war is bad (I supported the Afghan intervention -something I'd been pushing for since before the Taliban took power, long before they became entrenched or gave support to AQ- and had been argueing for a Yugoslav intervention since it sparked off in Slovenia). Not because I felt the war was an imperialistic exercise in pursuit of oil (it was, in a way, but that isn't why it happened), but because it was being done at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons, by the wrong people and without any follow up plan. Curious Hamster has an exceptional post up detailing his opinions, and it simply has to be promoted (I went there via DK):
With intelligent well informed leaders and thorough and careful planning, the coalition might have had a chance at achieving some of the goals they set out for Iraq in March 2003. But it was clear in early 2003 that there was a distinct lack of thorough and careful planning and that the coalition were going to make a frightful mess of the occupation as a result. It was clear that the coalition had no plans for peace in Iraq but only plans for war. It was clear that a section of Iraqi society would attempt to achieve a religious Shiite dominated government and it was clear that Iran would attempt to support them in that endeavour. It was clear that the coalition had not planned for this. In those circumstances, what's happening in Iraq today was inevitable. It needn't have been.

The leaders who got it so wrong need to be held to account.
He's right. Hussein was an evil nasty tyrant who should have been removed from power years ago. But by going in without a longterm plan, without the support of opposition movements in Iraq, without any real understanding of the situation on the ground within the populace, we (as in The West) have created a mess that will take years to recover from.

The important thing, now, is to learn from the mistakes, to move on wiser, and determined that, if we intervene overseas again (and, like I've said above, I'm no isolationist), we do so for the right reasons, with local support, and with a plan post 'victory'. Bush had none of these things. Blair, at least, always tried to also bring out the 'nasty tyrant' argument as well as the false WMDs. At times, it is necessary to intervene to stop a greater evil. But if it happens, that evil must both be widely acknowledged, fully understood, and other options have to have been exhausted. In the US, there are moves to impeach Bush being discussed by some. That's an issue for the Americans to resolve themselves.

For me, it's just another reason to dislike the NuLab spin machine that's in power, lest we forget, with the lowest vote share and lowest turnout out since 1945.

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