Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Success or Failure?

Neal Boortz is running a poll today that asks the question, "Do you think the war in Iraq has been a success or failure?" Right now 85% of his readers call it a success.

I voted in the "don't know" category. For the same reason, if someone asked me to determine whether a half-finished painting was any good, I would answer that I don't know. Look, the war in Iraq, as a military operation against Saddam's army, was flawless. It exceeded even optimistic expectations, and utterly humiliated the liberal critics who predicted tens of thousands of dead Americans. The war, as such, was a resounding success. There is no disputing that point.

But I think it is only fair to include reconstruction in "the war in Iraq," because we didn't go there to flatten their army. Success can only be measured according to the goal, no? And we went there to get rid of a terrorist regime for the purpose of establishing a beachhead in the Middle East to advance the War on Terror. Remember that Iraq was never the goal, only a waypoint on the path to a larger goal. Has that beachhead been established? It's entirely too early to tell. We won't know that until the Iraqis try their hand at Democracy.

Update: There is an article in the Wall Street Journal that points to the growth of markets in the Middle East in general and Iraq in particular:

"Yet definitive policies to normalize the Middle East have made regional and global market investors bullish, repatriated capital exported (or that had fled) from the region, and encouraged a sea change in foreign direct investment. The end of Saddam's regime sent a major, unconfused market signal after the West's years of disinterest in the Middle East as a Levantine backwater. Subsequently, every major capital market index in the Middle East has risen."

What's the Arab version of cowbell? Ululation, I suppose. LULULULULULULULULULULU!!!

Note that this doesn't change my analysis from before the update. This is information that makes me optimistic about ultimately achieving our goals in the War on Terror, but we still have a long way to go.