A FRIENDLY EMAIL FROM THE PRO-AMERICAN LEFT:
Courtesy of Glenn Greenwald- whom I’m sure you wish you could be, if you ever grow a brain and some integrity- some of your wise words about the opponents of the Iraq War.
“FOR SUCH AN ADVANCED SPECIES, THEY SURE KNOW HOW TO RUB IT IN.”– Marge Simpson
Yeah, there has been a lot of pro-war gloating. And I guess that Dawn Olsen’s cautionary advice about gloating is appropriate. So maybe we shouldn’t rub in just how wrong, and morally corrupt the antiwar case was. Maybe we should rise above the temptation to point out that claims of a “quagmire” were wrong — again! — how efforts at moral equivalence were obscenely wrong — again! — how the antiwar folks are still, far too often, trying to move the goalposts rather than admit their error — again — and how an awful lot of the very same people who spoke lugubriously about “civilian casualties” now seem almost disappointed that there weren’t more — again — and how many people who spoke darkly about the Arab Street and citizens rising up against American “liberators” were proven wrong — again — as the liberators were seen as just that by the people they were liberating. And I suppose we shouldn’t stress so much that the antiwar folks were really just defending the interests of French oil companies and Russian arms-deal creditors. It’s probably a bad idea to keep rubbing that point in over and over again.
May they go down nice and tasty…just before you choke on them. Oh, but I forgot, to acknowledge right from wrong, one has to have a sense of right and wrong–and you’re a rethuglican. Nevermind.
Well, I actually think that Glenn Greenwald wants to be me, though if so he’d be well advised to stop lifting his stuff from Tom Tomorrow.
But the quoted passage comes from this 2003 post, and actually I think it holds up pretty well. It’s not something I’d be bringing up if I were on the left today, though.
Did the antiwar left want us to lose? Quite a few did, and some even admitted it. Emails like this one, and the steady stream of self-satisfied gloating I get from antiwar lefties whenever there’s bad news about Iraq, hardly evidence a desire to see America do well, either. No, not all antiwar lefties want us to lose, as I’ve noted at tiresome length in the past, but most of the ones who email me seem to.
Civilian casualties were, in fact, far lower than predicted. In fact, as I noted in the post from 2003, the antiwar predictions generally turned out badly. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s an excerpt from Gateway Pundit’s roundup on that topic:
* German politicians predicted: “Millions of people in Baghdad will be victims of bombs and rockets.”
What happened: The antiwar Iraqi Body Count site lists an estimated 4,000-6,000 civilians and fighters were lost in the startup months of the War in Iraq.
* Ted Kennedy predicted:”A war on Saddam might also cause an unprecedented humanitarian crisis with an estimated 900,000 refugees, a pandemic and an environmental disaster as Saddam lit the oilfields on fire.”
Actual Result: The oil fields were not set ablaze, no pandemic.
* The UN predicted… It is also likely that in the early stages there will be a large segment of the population requiring treatment for traumatic injuries, either directly conflict-induced or from the resulting devastation. Given the population outlined earlier, as many as 500,000 could require treatment to a greater or lesser degree as a result of direct or indirect injuries.
What happened: Again, the antiwar Iraqi Body Count site lists an estimated 4,000-6,000 civilians and fighters lost in the startup months of the War in Iraq.
* Ted Kennedy also predicted: “The U.S. could run through “battalions a day at a time” and that the fighting would look like “the last fifteen minutes of ‘Private Ryan.'”
Actual Results: Although each fatality is a tragic loss for America, this is still one of most successful military campaigns the US has ever fought.
See his accompanying graphics and links. I should also note that despite predictions of 50,000 casualties in the initial invasion, three years later we’re at less than 5% of that. And U.S. casualties are falling as Iraqis pick up the load.
The “Arab Street” didn’t rise (the Iraqi insurgency, which is a mixture of foreign fighters and Ba’athist holdouts hardly counts, and there weren’t riots and insurrection elsewhere in the region, as was predicted — apparently, we neglected to publish cartoons, which seem to incite more unrest than invasions). As for the French oil merchants and Russian arms-deal creditors, or the strained efforts at moral equivalence, well, nothing’s happened to change that.
I had actually planned not to rub this in — the “antiwar” movement has shrunk to such a pitiful remnant of its not terribly impressive former self that it hardly seems worth it. But, hey, ask and ye shall receive. [You’re referencing scripture — does that make you a “Rethuglican?” — Ed. Who knows? I thought I was a “leftist opinion site.”]
UPDATE: Dodd Harris notes that the part about French oil merchants and Russian arms dealers holds up particularly well, and sends this link to Foreign Affairs on the war:
Judging from his private statements, the single most important element in Saddam’s strategic calculus was his faith that France and Russia would prevent an invasion by the United States. According to Aziz, Saddam’s confidence was firmly rooted in his belief in the nexus between the economic interests of France and Russia and his own strategic goals: “France and Russia each secured millions of dollars worth of trade and service contracts in Iraq, with the implied understanding that their political posture with regard to sanctions on Iraq would be pro-Iraqi. In addition, the French wanted sanctions lifted to safeguard their trade and service contracts in Iraq. Moreover, they wanted to prove their importance in the world as members of the Security Council — that they could use their veto to show they still had power.”
Yep. Today’s antiwar movement: tools of the international oil companies and arms traders. They used to say that kind of thing about war supporters, of course, but that’s just another example of the way things have gone all topsy-turvy of late.
ANOTHER UPDATE: “Evil?” Moi? “If you prick him, he does not bleed.”
Mike Hendrix has thoughts, too.
MORE: Reader J.D. Metcalf reminds me of one more phony antiwar prediction: “The biggest one of all is ‘When Bush is elected the DRAFT WILL BE reinstated.'” Yeah, I saw that claim all over the place.
Also, Australian columnist Andrew Bolt sends more failed antiwar predictions. Click “read more” to read them. I think you’ll find it worth your while.
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Courtesy of Glenn Greenwald- w…’ »