Sunday, October 17, 2004

What Went Wrong?

Something occurred to me while reading Rich Lowry's lengthy article about problems in Iraq in the Oct. 25 National Review. Lowry notes an intelligence report suggesting a possible insurgency in a liberated Iraq, but notes that it "was not one of the report's key findings," and quotes an anonymous official stating that; "I don't recall anyone at State or the CIA talking about this kind of insurgency."
Did anyone actually need high level intelligence to know that the US would face a guerilla insurgency in a post-war Iraq? If I were to do the tedious research required, I could probably find dozens of articles on the web making just such a prediction. I will settle on the one that stuck in my mind. In the first issue of The American Conservative Pat Buchanan wrote:
"[T]errorist attacks in liberated Iraq seem as certain as in liberated Afghanistan. For a militant Islam that holds in thrall scores of millions of true believers will never accept George Bush dictating the destiny of the Islamic world.

With our MacArthur Regency in Baghdad, Pax Americana will reach apogee. But then the tide recedes, for the one endeavor at which Islamic peoples excel is expelling imperial powers by terror and guerrilla war. They drove the Brits out of Palestine and Aden, the French out of Algeria, the Russians out of Afghanistan, the Americans out of Somalia and Beirut, the Israelis out of Lebanon."
Buchanan was drawing upon his knowledge of recent history. An intelligence briefing wasn't necessary.

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