"When our tanks rolled into Baghdad we could have found the least-bad official of the old regime, accepted his surrender, and let him run a transitional government. Instead of eviscerating the Iraqi police and military and putting the US government in charge of security on the ground, we could have let the transitional government do that from day 1. After all, militaries are really for fighting, not for maintaining order among civilian populations. If we had kept that in mind, and let the Iraqis handle their security from day 1, the security situation probably wouldn’t have deteriorated nearly as much, because (as last night, Hayekian perspective) security would have been provided by people with local expertise, rather than outsiders answering to far-off planners.heh..
The role of US forces, then, would have been to keep a watch on the transitional government while it hands over criminals of the old regime, submits to weapons inspections (the ostensible root of the conflict), convenes a constitutional convention to chart a new course, and negotiates a treaty with the US.
Those are the sorts of things that you do if your real goal is to remove a government that allegedly threatens you: You get rid of that government, and then put the locals in charge of their own affairs again ASAP. Hell, even if your real goal is to create a client state, you still do that, only you work behind the scenes to manipulate the transitional government and constitutional convention. There’s no need to eviscerate the entire apparatus of the state and put everything under the control of the US.
Thinking about all of this with my friend has left me wondering one thing: Why the hell didn’t we do it that way? I know that it was never really about removing an alleged threat, but even the creation of a client state doesn’t require all of the havoc that we’ve sown. So why, in God’s name, didn’t we do what I outlined above? I admit that I’m completely confused here, the more that I think about it. This doesn’t create a client state, it creates a failed state, another Afghanistan or Somalia.
Anyway, I know it’s too late to fix this now, but the more I think about it the more I realize that they didn’t just make mistakes. They worked over-time to make mistakes, mistakes that would have been completely unnecessary even for people with imperalist agendas. I can understand when people do bad things that advance their bad goals. I can understand when people make mistakes while doing things that, if successful, would have advanced their goals. What I can’t understand is going out of your way to do things that, even if successful, would have been completely irrelevant to the goals at hand. So I’m stumped here.
(Since my opinions sometimes get misunderstood here, I’m not thinking through the “How to do a better invasion and occupation?” issue because I want to do it again, but because (1) I suspect that some day our leaders will try to do it again and (2) if their agenda is to create a failed state rather than a client state, these will be the signs.)"
Sunday, May 06, 2007
if their agenda is to create a failed state
Posted by lukery at 5/06/2007 02:13:00 PM