Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Friday | February 21, 2003

Iraq and Ken Pollack

As many of you in the Open Thread today are discussing, while we can seriously debate the wisdom of an Iraqi invasion, there may be more agreement that Ken Pollack, in his book The Threatening Storm has done a better job of making the case for war than the Bushies. I am hesitant to take issue with Pollack because he manages to make the calm, rational, and reluctant argument for invasion that the Bushies still fail to do.

Yet I have several ongoing concerns with his analysis, notwithstanding Josh Marshall's support, as expressed in the book and Pollack's essay today in the Washington Post. Without getting into too much detail, some of these concerns are:

-Pollack's whole analysis seems to minimize or not take into account the splintering of Iraq that has already begun, and the expectations of the many factions that will want their share of the country and independence, something that our troops will have to deal with as they move through the country.

-Pollack seems to minimize the possibility of instability in nearby regimes as a result of our toppling of Saddam and our prolonged occupation.

-Pollack also seems to minimize what Al Qaeda will do about this, both in the region and here in the US.

-Pollack's argument assumed that we would build a truly multinational coalition in support for this invasion, including neighboring states.

The point about dealing effectively with Al Qaeda first before invading was stated best by Pollack himself on page 420:

The best way to think about sorting out the priorities between Iraq and Al Qaeda is to imagine that the United States invades Iraq and that while we are doing so, Al Qaeda conducts another terrorist attack that results in the death of several hundred Americans. In this hypothetical scenario, the president should be able to honestly tell the relatives of the victims killed in such a new terrorist attack that there was nothing else the U. S. government could have done to prevent the attack and there was nothing about the operations in Iraq that distracted or diminished the nation's vigilence against Al Qaeda. Only when the administration can meet this standard should we embark upon so large an additional endeavor as invading Iraq.

Even if you support the invasion, by Pollack's own words and test spelled out above, has George W. Bush met that standard?


Posted February 21, 2003 08:58 AM | Comments (60)


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