misadventures in Iraq

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Here are two views of the Bushite misadventures in Iraq: Mark Danner elucidates the near past (through a review of Woodward’s State of Denial, Suskind’s One Percent Doctrine, and Risen’s State of War) and the immediate past is covered by Glenn Greenwald. Danner writes of the ideological isolation of the Bush administration and the overwhelming desire to ignore inconvenient facts, which he calls the War of Imagination:

Anyone seeking to understand what has become the central conundrum of the Iraq war—how it is that so many highly accomplished, experienced, and intelligent officials came together to make such monumental, consequential, and, above all, obvious mistakes, mistakes that much of the government knew very well at the time were mistakes—must see beyond what seems to be a simple rhetoric of self-justification and follow it where it leads: toward the War of Imagination that senior officials decided to fight in the spring and summer of 2002 and to whose image they clung long after reality had taken a sharply separate turn. In that War of Imagination victory was to be decisive, overwhelming, evincing a terrible power—enough to wipe out the disgrace of September 11 and remake the threatening world.


…the War of Imagination draped all the complications and contradictions of the history and politics of a war-torn, brutalized society in an ideologically driven vision of a perfect future. Small wonder that its creators, faced with grim reality, have been so loathe to part with it. Since the first thrilling night of shock and awe, reported with breathless enthusiasm by the American television networks, the Iraq war has had at least two histories, that of the war itself and that of the American perception of it. As the months passed and the number of attacks in Iraq grew, the gap between those two histories opened wider and wider.[7] And finally, for most Americans, the War of Imagination—built of nationalistic excitement and ideological hubris and administration pronouncements about "spreading democracy" and "greetings with sweets and flowers," and then about "dead-enders" and "turning points," and finally about "staying the course" and refusing "to cut and run"—began, under the pressure of nearly three thousand American dead and perhaps a hundred thousand or more dead Iraqis, to give way to grim reality.

The idiocies of disbanding the army and de-Baathifying the government are in full view, but our inevitable exit from Iraq—amid the violent insurgency we helped to create—remains lost in the fog. (By the way, we have now been in Iraq longer than we were in World War II.)

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on November 26, 2006 10:57 AM.

the season of petulant hypocrisy was the previous entry in this blog.

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