The Arrogance of American Military Strategists

February 15, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Posted in Iraq | 7 Comments

Thomas Ricks is a fairly intelligent guy, and his pieces on Iraq are generally quite good. But his current one about Iraq really bothers me. It bothers me for a couple of reasons.

One reason is that he (like all his military buds) think American citizens don’t understand enough of what is going on, and we should “trust them” to get it right. These are of course the very same guys who said we should trust them at the start of the war. These very same guys have not yet been punished for being wrong. They have not been fired from their jobs. They continue to spout their trash, and we’re supposed to somehow trust them.

Secondly, note the language he uses:

The thought of having small numbers of U.S. troops dying for years to come in the country’s deserts and palm groves isn’t appealing, but it appears to be better than either being ejected or pulling out — and letting the genocidal chips fall where they may…

…Many worried that as the United States withdraws and its influence wanes, the Iraqi tendency toward violent solutions will increase.

Because of course Iraqis only know “genocide?” What a bunch of arrogant American bull crap. We’re supposedly a more “civilized” nation, and a substandard nation like Iraq cannot be trusted to finding ways outside violence to deal with things. We, the United States. The one that goes around interjecting in the affairs of other nations. We, the United States, who have a lot of blood on our hands. We have killed a hell of a lot of people these past eight years (let alone the past sixty years since World War II in our attempt to “civilize” the world).

It should be noted, for remembrance, that Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party was supported by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America. It also should be noted, for remembrance, that it was the set policy of the United States of America, during the 1980s that if Saddam Hussein needed anything against the Iranians, he would get it from the Americans, or America would avert attention from such things as chemical weapons. It also should be noted, for remembrance, that during those same 1980s, the United States of America also sold weapons to the other side, the mortal enemy of Iraq, the fundamentalists of Iran, essentially making the United States play both sides against each other. For what purpose exactly? Who the hell cares. The point was that we ADDED to the violence in the region. And WE’RE supposed to be trusted to reduce violence in the region?

Maj. Matt Whitney, who spent 2006 advising Iraqi generals, predicted that once U.S. forces were out of the way, Iraqi commanders would relapse to the brutal ways of earlier days: “Saddam Hussein taught them how to [suppress urban populations] and we’ve just reinforced that lesson for four years,” he said. “They’re ready to kill people — a lot of people — in order to get stability in Iraq.”

Major Whitney hit it right on the nail, the problem of having the Americans involved in the region. “[Americans] are ready to kill people — a lot of people — in order to get stability in Iraq.” We’re teaching Iraqis how to solve problems through violence and we expect the Iraqis to NOT use violence to solve their problems?

In other words, the events for which the Iraq war will be remembered probably haven’t even happened yet.

And that is just sad. I hope President Obama sticks to his campaign promise to remove troops from Iraq within the first sixteen months (or so), and not listen to commanders like these who have CONSISTENTLY been wrong about Iraq. Most Americans want out. It is not up to us to decide for the Iraqis how violent they need to be in order to produce a good outcome for them. It is up to them to decide that. We already introduced enough violence upon them. Let them continue the killings amongst themselves if that is what they deem best. We need our soldiers back here to defend our homes, not the homes of Iraqis.


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  1. If we bring the troops home, the terrorists will have won.

    After all, everybody knows that.

  2. And we keep the troops there forever because that’s the only path for “victory.”

  3. On a related topic, here’s one you should give a thread all its own:

    Why I Hate To Hear the Star Spangled Banner and Refuse To Say the Pledge

  4. I can’t endorse Lew Rockwell stuff, Mark. I mean, look at this.

    What an amazing pile of junky, worn-out, bogus policy ideas! Equal pay for equal work. Infrastructure spending. More money to the public schools. Socialized medicine. Rock-bottom interest rates. Welfare! Every wish granted by government. Down with business. Down with business failures. Curbs on fat-cat pay. Down with Wall Street. Turn on the money spigots. Expropriate the expropriators. Subsidies for every lifestyle that flies in the face of bourgeois prejudice.

    Thus are we again reminded of what a profound threat the left represents to liberty.

    How the hell can I take anything this man says seriously?

  5. Seriously, what problem does he have with “equal pay for equal work?”

    “Down with business?” Says which socialist commie liberal? What’s wrong with “curbs on fat cat pay?”

    “Down with Wall Street?” Says which socialist commie liberal?

    Utterly silly, Mark. Utterly silly.

  6. I don’t understand his beef with “equal pay for equal work” either, but at Rockwell, they’re equal opportunity state-haters, whether it’s Reppublicans or Democrats using coercive powers of the state who end up running the show.

    Despite what Rockwell had to say in his article, is there anything in the specific article I linked that you disagree with?

  7. Mark,

    No, the other piece is generally on target.

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