Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Predicting the outcome of the war

There is a thread on Crooked Timber about who was right in their predictions about the Iraq war. Is a pundit who predicted it would be a disaster, but got the results or reasons for the disaster wrong, as discredited as a pundit who predicted it would be a success?

I have been trying to remember what I thought would happen once we invaded Iraq. The time of making serious predictions, and raising issues like 'Saddam didn't have anything to do with 9/11' and 'this will be used to funnel money into a few large American companies', was before I began to blog. And it seemed redundant to go into detail once I was blogging, because everyone else I knew thought the same. So I don't have any proof that's what I thought. And I was wrong about quite a lot.

It seemed obvious to me that there were no significant WMD in Iraq. I had two reasons:

The first was that the phrase 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' seemed to me to be a dishonest one, which set off my alarm bells. I felt it was intended to lump together significant weaponry, such as nuclear bombs, with (globally) trivial weaponry such as a tiny cache of nerve gas in a lab somewhere. The implied threat of the serious weaponry would be used to justify the invasion before the fact, and the finding of the trivial weaponry would be used to justify it after the fact. As it happened the second part of this prediction was wrong. They didn't even try to fake it.

The second reason was that I felt the US would only risk invasion of a country they felt was not protected by WMD (for example, they wouldn't touch North Korea with a barge pole). In this respect I think I was right.

As far as the conduct of the war. To be honest I was quite mistaken, except in thinking it was a Bad Thing. I thought the Republican Guard would put up a stronger fight at the start, and then I thought the coalition would be more efficient in taking economic and political advantage of the victory. Instead 'we' got in more easily than I expected, but made a much bigger mess of the occupation than I would have thought possible.

I've tried to be honest about what I got wrong. If I had expected greater uselessness I would have been more accurate.

Can you remember what you got right and wrong?
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