Ralph Peters on the fifth anniversary of Iraq:
I cannot help repeating the heartbreaking truth that it didn't have to be this hard, this bloody, or this expensive. This is what happens when war is made by amateurs. Has anyone in Washington learned that lesson?
It's a lesson that the left, as well as the right, needs to take to heart. While the Bush administration deserves every lash it gets, domestic opponents of the war have been hypocritical, dishonest and destructive. As this column long has maintained, had President Bill Clinton sent our troops to depose Saddam Hussein, Democrats would have celebrated him as the greatest liberator since Abraham Lincoln.
The problem for the left wasn't really what was done, but who did it. And hatred of Bush actually empowered him - the administration had no incentive to reach out to those who wouldn't reach back, so it just did as it pleased. Today's "antiwar" left also contains plenty of politicians who backed interventions in the Balkans and Somalia, who would be glad to send American troops to Darfur today and who voted for war in Iraq.
Both parties are quick to employ our military. It's the only foreign-policy tool we have that works. Neither party is a peace party - each just wants to pick its own wars. The hypocrisy in Washington is as astonishing as the dishonesty about security needs.
Through it all, amazingly, our young men and women in uniform continue to serve honorably and skillfully, holding together not just Iraq but a fractured world. We whine and bicker. They re-enlist and go back to Iraq and Afghanistan. Where they're targets of scorn for our elitist media.
Given all our mistakes and partisan agendas, it's amazing Iraq is going as well as it is today. The improved conditions in Baghdad and most of the provinces verge on the miraculous, given the situation a year ago. But we've paid a needlessly high price.
(Via the corner)