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Success in Iraq? Think Again.

Happy Anniversary to you...
Happy Anniversary to you...
Happy Anniversary "Operation Iraqi Freedom"...
Happy Anniversary to --

Sorry. I can't do it. The war in Iraq isn't anything to be singing about.
But I couldn't let this latest milestone pass unnoticed.
Yes, things are lots calmer than they were a year or two ago -- Gen. David Petraeus and the brave troops under his command...
Ambassador Ryan Crocker...
They've salvaged what they could over there.
And salvaging was really all they could do with a mission that was misconceived from the get-go -- anybody remember "weapons of mass destruction"? -- and mismanaged for years.

There are people (Dick Cheney comes to mind) who still want to tell you that the war in Iraq is a success. "Saddam Hussein is gone," they say. And that's true. "We've replaced a dictatorship with a democracy," they say. Maybe. Too early to tell, but maybe.
And that, they want you to believe, makes it a success.
And in a certain kind of world it might be.

In a world where the laws of cause and effect don't apply, for instance. So you could have dismantled Iraq's government without making its old rival, Iran -- dangerous, unpredictable Iran -- the strongest power in a tinderbox region.
A "success," maybe, in a world of unlimited resources, where you don't have to make hard choices. So you could have kept enough troops in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda back in 2001 and 2002, instead of having to pull them out of there to get ready to invade Iraq in 2003.
(Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden is still walking around -- still plotting and planning. Still destabilizing Afghanistan, and even Pakistan. You can thank the war in Iraq for that.)

A "success," maybe, in a world where you can make time stand still over here, while you focus all your attention over here. So Iran and North Korea wouldn't have pushed ahead with their own nuclear-weapons programs while we were otherwise occupied. We don't get those years back -- and you can thank the war in Iraq for that, too.

See, in a world where things aren't connected to other things -- where you get to handle one thing at a time, in a vacuum, at the pace you choose -- maybe you could consider the war in Iraq a success.
But we don't live in that kind of world.
Which is why most of the experts don't call the war in Iraq a "success." They call it "the worst foreign-policy blunder in American history."
Happy Anniversary.

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Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at rickhoro@execpc.com.

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