I only read the Strib via other blog links or clippings my breakfast crew sends me, so I missed this opinion piece
by a colleague here at SCSU. Shot In The Dark
didn't, and Mitch takes a dim view of it. I'll only elaborate a couple of things for Mitch; I have known Abbas for awhile and probably can't detach well enough to be objective on this one. First, probably my continuing opinion on sociologists and most liberals -- they believe that the only thing that prevents to socialist state is not enough planning. We didn't plan enough before going into Iraq, there was chaos, and a relative of my colleague died. I don't know that I want to be the one that asks him how much planning would it have taken to prevent that death; I doubt he would recognize my question of how many others would have died under Saddam while we did more planning as being anything except insensitive.
Second, we always knew sanctions wouldn't work. There was nothing wrong with Mehdi asking for them to be ended; sanctions drive up prices, allow for rent-seeking by the Ba'athists, and enrich those we most wish to harm. After the abandonment of the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs in 1991, that and a pusillanimous no-fly zone was all that was left (remember, the quotations are about US policy during the Clinton administration.) That's a wholly different criticism than what he's offering now. There is a high cost to liberating Iraq, and we're foolish to ignore it. But we're also foolish to ignore the high benefits. Which is greater, is the question.