Great stateswoman applauded

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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 06:59 am

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review interviews Christopher Hitchens:

Q: What’s the biggest misconception or myth or fallacy Americans have about what is going on in Iraq?

A: To think our engagement with Iraq began in 2003 and that we had the option of not doing anything there and presumably should have exercised that option. The beginning of wisdom is the realization of responsibility. We’ve inherited responsibility for Iraq starting at least from the moment when Jimmy Carter encouraged Saddam Hussein to attack Iran, but perhaps earlier than that in the ‘60s when the CIA most certainly did help Saddam’s wing of the Baath Party to come to power. … We have to accept that a busted up and screwed up Iraq was in our future no matter what.

Q: Does that mean you are of the “We broke it, but we broke it a long time ago school” and now we’ve got to fix it?

A: When I first heard the Pottery Barn analogy put—I think by that great stateswoman Maureen Dowd—I thought how irritating and how trivial. But then I thought, “You know what, by accident, she’s got it right.” Because, OK, “You break it, you own it,” can be rephrased. It was broken and we did own it. And so everything has to start with that recognition. … The main criticism that the neocons have, and I take more or less their line on this, is that all of this should have been taken care of in 1991. They should not have let Saddam Hussein survive his conquest of Kuwait and his defeat there. He should have gone down then and we should never have tortured the Iraqi people with sanctions for 12 years.

Read the whole thing. And this, by Stephen F. Hayes:

The former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.

Austin Bay has further thoughts.

(Via Instapundit, who also points to new evidence of Edward Kennedy’s growing confusion. The Boston booze silo lately referred to “the Goldwater presidency”; a couple of weeks ago, he described Mao’s collected thoughts as “the official Chinese version of Mao Tse-tung’s Communist Manifesto”.)

Posted by Tim B. on 01/07/2006 at 11:04 PM
    1. All sounds plausible to us.

      The other issue, is that Saddam was never going to live forever, and on his death the Shia and Kurds were never going to accept succession by his sons. The end result would have been IMMEDIATE civil war.

      Posted by WeekByWeek on 2006 01 08 at 12:28 AM • permalink


    1. The Boston booze silo lately referred to “the Goldwater presidency”

      Oh, God, does reading that give me a depressing wistfulness. I can close my eyes and imagine a Goldwater presidency. No Great Society; no expansion of welfare and destruction of the nuclear family; no government-funded kickstart to the social decay of the 70s. Instead we got Lyndon Johnson and had to wait twelve years for Goldwater’s heir.

      Posted by Dave S. on 2006 01 08 at 12:28 AM • permalink


    1. You know what the really funny thing is? Tim is linking to the newspaper that fired me.


      Just weeks before I was going to quit.

      Yeah, it’s only funny to me. Because, honestly, who would think an Australian would link to a suburban Pittsburgh (PA, USA) newspaper that interviewed a Brit about his views on the liberation of Iraq?

      Me, that’s who.

      And, correct me if I’m wrong, but Hitch is a Brit, right? I’m going by his spelling.

      Otherwise, it’s a small, small world. Alternate universe: Tim Blair links to me.

      Posted by William Young on 2006 01 08 at 12:47 AM • permalink


    1. Perhaps the only benefit of going the sanctions route has been the exposure of the criminal hypocrisy of the U.N. and its chief boosters in the oil for food scam and the failure to enforce the sanctions.  That should make it more difficult the next time around for the U.N. to command much deference.

      The option of not doing anything there

      That option was lost irrevocably when we looked up from the rubble of 9/11 and beheld the Middle East, and saw that it was filled with madmen, and lawless terrorists ran things—and lo, they wished to kill us.

      And we smote them.  And it was good.

      Posted by stuartfullerton on 2006 01 08 at 12:47 AM • permalink


    1. Weekbyweek obviously never listened to Saddam’s former press officer.

      Posted by Ian Deans on 2006 01 08 at 12:47 AM • permalink


    1. As an eager brownshirted ‘Xtian’ minion of the vast theocratic RWDB neocon conspiracy to save Zionism® and Capitalist fat-cat polluters from the regressive green utopia, I whole stoneheartedly endorse our dark lord’s efficient smiting of enemies.

      Faster, please.

      Posted by monkeyfan on 2006 01 08 at 01:24 AM • permalink


    1. Yo, monkeyfan, get yer tongue outta yer cheek!

      Anyway, you should know that our Dark Master favors black shirts, so they coordinate with the color of the helicopters.

      Posted by Michael Lonie on 2006 01 08 at 01:49 AM • permalink


    1. As for the ‘Goldwater presidency’, I saw a headline on the BBC website yesterday which said ‘Kennedy admits to alcohol problem’.  This is news, I thought? – until I followed the link to a story about UK LibDems leader Charles Kennedy.

      Posted by cuckoo on 2006 01 08 at 02:33 AM • permalink


    1. Can’t remember who said it but the quote was something like: “Be careful digging up the past because you only end up dirty.” This is a good way to look at the war in Iraq, if we reminisce endlessly about Saddam and the good old days we risk losing sight of the future. Same as the debate over how and why we ended up in Iraq, let the history books decide the WMD debate. If we don’t look to the future we may end up like Kim Beazley, fighting the old battles of GST past and not putting forward policies that reflect the future.

      Posted by cjblair on 2006 01 08 at 03:25 AM • permalink


    1. #8 Cuckoo, I thought that as well. Clicked the link and it was some British guy.  Pretty disappointing. I think it’s time for Ted to run around pantless again.

      Posted by Donnah on 2006 01 08 at 04:54 AM • permalink


    1. ’Kennedy admits to alcohol problem‘

      “Dammit!  There isn’t enough alcohol!”

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 01 08 at 05:07 AM • permalink


    1. Failure to observe and learn from the past is negligent.
      They should not have let Saddam Hussein survive his conquest of Kuwait and his defeat there. He should have gone down then and we should never have tortured the Iraqi people with sanctions for 12 years.
      I was totally amazed that the Gulf War ended the way it did. Saddam had not just invaded Kuwait, but had launched missile strikes against Israel and Saudi Arabia. He topped it off with environmental vandalism of the Kuwaiti oilfields which alone should have seen him put away by any effective International Court – if such animal exists.
      For him to be left in power just because the UN mandate did not stretch to ousting him, or because the battle was getting to be a messily one sided PR problem, or because nobody knew who to put in his place, is still an incomprehensible and regrettable cop out.
      Israel would have been justified in sending a missile to each of his palaces thereafter, as a return gesture.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2006 01 08 at 05:58 AM • permalink


    1. Interesting to surmise what Reagan would have done about the Teheran Embassy Hostage situation. Under International Law that was an act of war (and still would be today) by the Iranians. Carter (and possibly also his advisers) did not have it in him to rise to the challenge until it was way too late, and with too small a force. It failed.
      These days we hear a lot from the left about International Law and observance of proprieties. The truth is that actions (aka events) speak louder and have to be dealt with in the real world.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2006 01 08 at 06:05 AM • permalink


    1. Another error by Kennedy – King George never claimed to be above the law.

      Posted by Susan Norton on 2006 01 08 at 07:30 AM • permalink


    1. Poor Pottery Barn.

      Posted by Rittenhouse on 2006 01 08 at 08:58 AM • permalink


    1. PETA protesters bare bums against mulesing

      Linked by blogad on to

      The ad features a shot of a nicely shaped bum emblazoned with the Australian flag and a link to site protesting mulesing.

      There’s also a report about Chrissy Hynde (no pun intended) protesting on behald of Aussie sheep.  “Bah Ram Ewe”


      John Podhoretz on Ted Kennedy’s attacks on Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito:
      “Teddy Kennedy doesn’t have a functioning brain cell left, as far as I can tell.”

      Posted by AST on 2006 01 11 at 03:20 AM • permalink


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