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Bush's Mistakes

Reader comment on item: My Gloom: Back to September 10

Submitted by Aaron (United States), Dec 22, 2005 at 09:04

Mr. Pipes doesn't give President Bush nearly enough credit for our country's lack of "constancy and purpose."

Bush started us out fighting a War On Terror, which was actually a War On A Tactic. Soon thereafter we found ourselves fighting a secular dictator in a War On Weapons Of Mass Destruction (with a side of War On Tyranny). Meanwhile, we practically ignored Iran, the world's largest supporter of international terrorism, a tyrannical Islamist regime bent on producing nuclear weapons and on the destruction of the United States and its close ally. Now we are fighting a War On Insurgencies while simultaneously fighting a War For Democracy (a.k.a. the War For Islamists In Politics). Is it really so surprising that the US lacks "constancy and purpose?"

It took President Bush FOUR YEARS to figure out who we are supposed to be fighting (Islamists) and what they really want (to reestablish the Caliphate). Now we are so politically confused, diplomatically strained, emotionally exhausted, and militarily overextended that there is little chance we will be able to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear bomb and winning a crucial battle in a war with no end in sight.

It is ironic that Mr. Pipes, who so often acts as the voice of reason, refrains from acknowledging that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. I had long suspected Mr. Pipes of being a subtle apologist for the Iraq War, and he confirmed my suspicions when he quoted himself from an article he published in the Jerusalem Post on October 3rd 2001: "The amassing of American forces near Iraq and Afghanistan cheers me." Clearly, he had decided early on that invading Iraq was the thing to do.

But in the same October 2001 article where he cheerily anticipates the invasion of Iraq, Mr. Pipes notes that the "war [with radical Islam] began … when Ayatollah Khomeini took power in Iran." One must then ask, if Iran started the war, wouldn't the removal of Iran's arch enemy be a huge strategic blunder?

Towards the end of the article Mr. Pipes asks, "Are Americans truly ready … [for] the war against militant Islam?" Here too, one must ask, if our war is with militant Islam and Iran, wouldn't the removal of a secular dictator ruling a country with a large fundamentalist population (ideologically tied to Iran) be a huge strategic blunder?

It is time for Mr. Pipes to admit that we removed the biggest regional threat to Iran. It is time for Mr. Pipes to admit that the Iraqi quagmire we find ourselves in has weakened us and emboldened Iran. It is time for Mr. Pipes to admit that our inability to dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons is in large part due to our weakened position. It is time for Mr. Pipes to admit that invading Iraq was the WRONG thing to do.

For our country's sake, I hope Mr. Pipes reconsiders his position on Iraq. For, if the person we all count on to see clearly in these dangerous times can continue to get such an important issue so wrong, we really are in trouble.

-Aaron
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

1) I was against the overthrow of Saddam Hussein until the sanctions regime fell apart in 1998 and ever since have supported that step. I do have criticisms of the post-Saddam effort, seeing it as too engaged, too ambitious, and too rushed.

2) I have always seen the war in Iraq has basically unrelated to the war on radical Islam.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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