The Victor's Rights, Right or Wrong

Russell Turpin deafbox at
Fri Apr 18 23:42:38 PDT 2003

John Hall:
>3) Again those Iraqis: there is absolutely no scenario from here forward 
>that doesn't leave them better off than if we hadn't invaded.

To anyone whose view of historical consequences
is longer than a year or two down the road, it
is easy to imagine how this might playout in a
way that leaves the Iraqis (and the US) worse
off. Start with the US not having the sense to
maintain order in Iraq after the conquest. Let
this, and subsequent bungling stew into
resentment, renewed support for Islamism and
pan-Arabism, and the eventual creation (say,
ten or twenty years down the road) of a
government that is just as bad or worse than

Like everyone else, I *hope* that we are able
to foster something good. But the measure of
that won't be the state of Iraq a year from now,
or even two. With the two year window, it is
very easy to imagine the British nodding their
head that they had done something good when
they first created Iraq, or the US thinking the
same when they helped install the Shah. Or when
they supported Saddam in the 80s. If you look
at history in two year increments, it's easy to
forget the blowback that comes ten years or
twenty years later. Too many of the people
writing now about the great victory seem to
completely ignore the extent to which the
unfortunate situation prior was in fact the
blowback from victories not too many decades

A Marshall plan? Or a Versailles? It's too
early to say. But it's pretty stupid to say
it can only get better, from here on out. I'm
sure that's what the cheerleaders said the
morning after Versailles. No one imagined, in
1918, that twenty million would die in its
consequence. And unless you see historical
effects that span the decades, you still won't
see the connection. Keynes saw bad consequences
before they occurred. But he was the exception,
and not many listened to him at the time.

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