"We paid a big price for not stopping it because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness," Paul Bremer said in a speech reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday. "We never had enough troops on the ground."No doubt that this important Bush appointee will now be slandered by The White House because of his comments, as was Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neil before him. I could say that it took guts for him to finally admit to mistakes, but it strikes me as "too little, too late" when he could have pressed his case back when it could have done some good (instead of announcing it now to cover his ass). And as with anybody else in this administration that have made comments about things going poorly in Iraq, Bremer was quick to add the standard "We're better off without Saddam" postscript, as if that can excuse gross incompetence.
For those of us who watched more than just FOX News in the days following the invasion, we knew that things were going poorly in the aftermath. How poorly? The Baghdad Library was looted and burned, including artifacts and manuscripts that were thousands of years old (a vast collection that Donald Rumsfeld belittled while flippantly referring to the looting with "Stuff Happens"). Many government offices were looted and destroyed, save for the Oil Ministry, while American troops stood ill equipped to deal with it. And, most incredible of all, after our proud claim that this was to prevent Saddam from supplying terrorists with WMD, we allowed nuclear energy facilities we knew existed to go unguarded for weeks after the invasion. When we finally got around to sending troops to guard them, we found them to be looted of dangerous documents and materials. Brilliant.
We once thumped our chest and barked at France, Germany, etc. that "we don't need your stinking support". This attitude sounds now the same as it did then: immature, unrealistic and dangerous. Now, with a coalition of the willing shrinking and fatalities rising, we need all the help we can get. This is the reason we should have built the coalition first, and this is also the reason why Dubya's "go it alone" attitudes to foreign policy is likely to get this country into even deeper trouble if he get's a second term.
Kerry and the Democrats are currently touting their claim that Bush would reinstate the draft if re-elected. I once thought that, although this was a good scare tactic, it wasn't likely. Now I'm not so sure. Despite all that has happened in Iraq, there will come a time when we will really need those troops to fight terrorists. As it now stands, they'll be too busy dodging RPG's in downtown Baghdad to be of any help.