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People say we have to succeed in Iraq. People hearing people say "we… - Potted Plant [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Potted Plant

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[Dec. 19th, 2006|07:32 pm]
Potted Plant
People say we have to succeed in Iraq. People hearing people say "we have to succeed" ask, "Is it possible to succeed?" It's a good question, but it's not my question. I have a question that needs to be answered before we can even begin discussing whether it is possible to succeed in Iraq.

What is the definition of success?

By this I mean, what are our goals in Iraq? What is it that we ever hoped to achieve? I know we intended to depose Saddam Hussein, and that this was done rather easily. But what are/were the ultimate goals? What are our parameters of victory? How will we know success when we see it?

In WWI, the goal was the surrender of the German state and its allies. In WWII, the goal was... the same actually, plus the surrender of Japan. In Korea, the goal was to prevent a communist takeover of the South Korean land. In Vietnam, the goal was to prevent the communist takeover of the South Vietnamese land. Some of these goals were laudable. Some of these goals, even if reached, gave the United States no great benefit. All of them were, however, concrete goals. They were easily definable. Every day that Saigon wasn't under the control of Ho Chi Minh was, in some sense, a successful day. It was a day in which our ultimate goal was met.

I've never heard what our goal is in Iraq. The closest I can come to articulating a goal is to say that our goals were two-fold. 1) Depose Saddam Hussein, and 2) take steps to reduce the threat of global terrorism. It's thoroughly disconnected, and there seems to be no reason to have ever thought that our presence in Iraq would actually reduce terrorism, and lots of reasons to think that terrorism would increase.

So, I know some of you were big supporters of the war. If you were, and you know what the goals are/were, please tell me. I have never heard it actually articulated in a clear way.

[User Picture]From: positron
2006-12-20 02:27 am (UTC)
The goals in Iraq were twofold with one tertiary fringe benefit.

The two main goals were to (1) eliminate the supposed threat Iraq posed to the United States and the regional stability of the Middle-East and (2) create a democratic, preferably somewhat pro-Western Iraq that would serve as a cultural/political influence in the region. The idea that this change would bring about democracy in other parts of the Middle-East was often implied, but it was a bit too New American Century to be stated blatantly.

The fringe benefit was to bring the Iraqi people out from under the thumb of a brutal dictator.

Now, we could debate the legitimacy of these various goals with our 20/20 hindsight or rehash all the debates people had leading up to the invasion, but that wasn't your question. So, I'll stop here.
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