Ilan Goldenberg captures my view precisely:
out of the nine pieces not one talks about the strategic failure of going in in the first place. Almost 4,000 American troops have died, approximately 30,000 have been wounded, we’ve appropriated more than $500 billion with the costs to the actual economy estimated to be well over $1 trillion and possibly heading towards $3 trillion. For all of this we have gotten a more powerful Al Qaeda, a more powerful Iran, a more unstable Middle East, and an overstretched military.
Goldenberg was commenting on nine essays ran by the NY Times:
But all of these pieces talk about the failure of execution and foist blame at various directions as if this could have all worked out if we had just done some things differently. Let’s face it, the failure was in the initial concept and the fact that the Times feels like it needs to give both Pletka and Kagan a spot, and can’t find us a Korb, Graham, or Bacevich to make the strategic failure argument is pathetic.
To say going into Iraq was a good decision that was poorly executed strikes me as one of the dumbest things I’ve heard in my lifetime. We were warned back in 2002 by those who get these things that we would be making Al Qaeda and Iran more powerful. These predictions have been borne out – much to our dismay. But to pretend that these were not the inevitable consequence of that incredibly stupid decision on 3/19/2003 is the height or either stupidity or mendacity.