Here’s Bill O’Reilly expressing the latest bit of wisdom from the American Right:
The problem in Iraq is not American. The problem is the Iraqis themselves. They’re not fighting for their freedom in a way that puts the bad keys on the defensive.
There is only so much the USA can do. If the Iraqi people are unwilling to challenge the bad guys, the bad guys will win — period.
And here’s Charles Krauthammer making the same point:
Americans flatter themselves that they are the root of all planetary evil. Nukes in North Korea? Poverty in Bolivia? Sectarian violence in Iraq? Breasts are beaten and fingers pointed as we try to somehow locate the root cause in America.
Our discourse on Iraq has followed the same pattern. Where did we go wrong? Too few troops? Too arrogant an occupation? Or too soft? Take your pick.
I have my own theories. In retrospect, I think we made several serious mistakes — not shooting looters, not installing an Iraqi exile government right away, and not taking out Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army in its infancy in 2004 — that greatly compromised the occupation. Nonetheless, the root problem lies with Iraqis and their political culture.
Charming folks. We launch an unprovoked invasion of their country, overthrow the government without any plan for quelling the ensuing chaos, leave the populace at the mercy of unscrupulous neighbors like Iran and Syria, destroy a large percentage of the nation’s infrastructure, and send far too few troops to help control the ethnic animosities everyone knew were there, but it’s the Iraqis fault for not taking advantage of our munificence to setup a Jeffersonian democracy.
Michael Kinsley has a far more intelligent take on the chaos in Iraq:
Second, you don’t get to assume the success of your intentions then plead a shrugging “Who knew?” when they don’t pan out. I also am in favor of toppling dictators, establishing democracy and watching it spread painlessly throughout every region where there is no experience of it. Not only that: I am in favor of turning sand into ice cream and guaranteeing a cone to every child in the Middle East. But you can’t turn sand into ice cream. That is not a defect in the execution of the idea. It is a defect in the idea itself. Although Perle and Adelman and others may think they are dissing the Bush Administration when they talk about its incompetence in failing to turn sand into ice cream, they are also displaying the Bush Administration’s key vice, which is assuming that things are how you wish them to be and not how they are.