September 28, 2007


President who can't see history: The botched invasion of Iraq has no credible parallels at all with the Korean War, Mr Bush (Ian Buruma, 9/28/07, The Australian)

Bush is right to claim that people in the Middle East would like to be as prosperous and free as the South Koreans, but his notion that the war in Iraq is simply a continuation of US policies in Asia could not be more mistaken. In Asia, as in the Middle East, US strategy was to prop up dictators against communism until their own people toppled them. In the Middle East today, it is reckless and radical: invading a country, wrecking its institutions and expecting that freedom will grow in the ensuing state of anarchy.

To confuse these different enterprises and pretend that they are the same is not only wrong but dangerous and deeply disappointing to those of us who still regard the US as a force for good.

Mr. Buruma is right that Iraq isn't comparable to Korea, but for the wrong reasons. George H. W. Bush's Iraq War, which liberated Kuwait and Kurdistan but left a totalitarian dictatorship in power in Baghdad more closely resembles the Korean War. What W did was, essentially, topple the North and liberate the whole country. Which we should now do for the Koreans as well.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 28, 2007 12:00 AM

"botched invasion"? Last time I looked, Saddam was pushing daisies.

"anarchy"? I think he is pretty mad the "civil war" ended before it barely began.

"radical"? Yes
"reckless"? No, the post war situation may not be what GWB wanted, but he knew what he was doing.

Posted by: ic at September 28, 2007 1:40 PM