This Space for Rent

Aaargh, just aargh

I try not to pay attention to moderate Democrats, but occasionally I do manage to get roped into reading an article one of them writes. There's an article in tapped that, try as I might, I can't help but read as an apologia for Maximum Leader Genius, because it's questioning the obvious incompetence of the B*sh junta's unprovoked aggressive war against Iraq.

One thing in particular calls for comment: Obviously, letting the looting go on didn't work out well. But consider the alternative. What? That it's possible that an invading army might end up shooting looters? It's only been known for about 5500 years now that if you loot, you might end up dead. Thats why the Army and the Marines were able, in the early days of the quagmire, to stop looting by simply driving their tanks and armo(u)red cars up to a facility they wanted to guard. Later on, after it had become painfully obvious that orders had come down that it was okay to let gangs sack and burn Baghdad, just as long as you didn't touch the oil ministry or Hussein family estate in the middle of town, sure, of course you'd see looters destroying buildings right across the street from a collection of bored American soldiers.

Mao said that power grows out of the barrel of a gun, which may or may not be true all the time, but it's certainly true when you're conquering a country. A competent invasion would have shipped in masses of military police to back up the armed forces and lock the city down until the native police had been coaxed back into their precinct houses, and if 20 or 30 looters had been blown away during this curfew, well, it would have been lost in the fatalities that happened when you rolled the tanks into town.

As it is, they "saved" 20 or 30 looters at the expense of allowing pretty much every little street gang and armed militia a chance to start carving out little fiefdoms of their own, which is something that ANYONE with even the slightest knowledge of history (hello, Somalia!) could have figured out. It's only not incompetent if you're claiming that the plan was to convert Iraq into yet another failed state like Afghanistan or Somalia.