Sunday, August 26, 2007

Charles Krauthammer in his own words

I'm going to present these nearly commentary-free. They stand by themselves, but I'll add some thoughts at the end. These are all taken from the archives. All emphasis is added. I've focused on the Iraq War - his opinions on pardons, baseball, Israel, etc are equally inane.

"No to nation building" in 2001

Because the American military is the world's premier fighting force, and ought to husband its resources for just that. Anybody can peacekeep; no one can do what we did in Afghanistan. Many nations can do police work; only we can drop thousand-pound bombs with the precision of a medieval archer. Peacekeeping is a job for others.
It is common sense. Americans make lousy peacekeepers--not because they are not great soldiers, but precisely because they are.
No to American peacekeepers. We fight the wars. Our friends should patrol the peace.

"Perspective on the duration of war" in 2003

With American troops at the gates of Baghdad, the plan is looking pretty good now.
The fact that but a single element was miscalibrated (without significant damage to the overall campaign) is, on the contrary, testimony to a plan of remarkable prescience.

Even more impressive was the speed of the military's adaptation to the new circumstances.

"The critics are wrong again" in 2003

Before the Iraq war even began, the critics were predicting that Iraq was going to be the Bay of Pigs (plus ``Desert One, Beirut and Somalia,'' said the ever-hyperbolic Chris Matthews). A week into the war, we were told Iraq was Vietnam. Now after the war, they're telling us that Iraq is Iran--that Iraq's Shiite majority will turn it into another intolerant Islamic republic.

The critics were wrong every time. They are wrong again.

"Rebuilding Iraq" in 2003

In Iraq, it was Saddam who turned the place to rubble. By any historic standard, the amount of destruction caused by the coalition was small. Most of the damage was inflicted upon the symbols, barracks, ministries and communication organs of the Baathist regime. The infrastructure--roads, bridges, dams, sewage systems, schools, mosques and hospitals--was barely touched.

And as for the people, one of the more unnoticed facts of this war was the absence of refugees--the Iraqi people's silent homage to their trust in the stated allied purpose of coming to liberate and not destroy.

"Chasing after Saddam's weapons" in 2003

The inability to find the weapons is indeed troubling, but only because it means that the weapons remain unaccounted for and might be in the wrong hands. The idea that our inability to thus far find the WMDs proves that the threat was phony and hyped is simply false.

"Everyone's an expert" in 2003

On the reconstruction of Iraq, everybody is a genius. Every pundit, every ex-official and, of course, every Democrat knows exactly how it should have been done.
Losing the peace? No matter what anyone says now, that question will only be answered at the endpoint. If in a year or two we are able to leave behind a stable, friendly government, we will have succeeded. If not, we will have failed. And all the geniuses will be vindicated.

There are an estimated 2 million refugees from Iraq and another 2 million internally displaced people -- out of a total population of about 25 million. Households lack electricity and water; years into the occupation infrastructure is still a disaster and a humanitarian crisis is at hand. A "year or two" has long since passed without meaningful political progress. Saddam did not have WMDs. Our war strategy was not one of "remarkable prescience" and Bush is now invoking Vietnam comparisons himself. Americans are being used a peacekeepers; according to Krauthammer the war ended in 2003. The Iraqi government is openly flirting with Iran.

This genius is vindicated. The critics were right; Krauthammer and his serious expert friends were wrong, as usual.


Aaron said...

I'm guessing there's no "Looks like I was wrong; how much is a big plate of crow going for these days?"-type posts of his, then?

Plenty of people thought the war was a Good Idea, and then thought better of it. Why can't these clowns do the same?

Margalis said...

No. Krauthammer maintains that we are totally blameless and that the Iraqis are responsible for everything bad that has happened. He still mocks and dismisses the people he said would be vindicated. Krauthammer and other neoconservative commentators have absolutely no shame. They find a way to blame anyone and everyone but themselves.