Invasion, toppling governments, interfering in the internal affairs of country, disposing off the leadership that is unfriendly to USA—these are not new exercises to the top administration of USA. This has been going on for centuries since the time the Hawaii Queen was toppled and the territory annexed. So, to say that USA needs to learn valuable lessons for the future is the statement of the novice, and if such the statement is given by the present administration, it is the politically convenient platitude. No guarantee can be given that future Iraq-like entanglements would not be repeated by US. The question is how honorably USA can find the exit door, without allowing it to turn into another Vietnam. The invasion of Iraq by US is an unpardonable fault and its continued military presence on the soil of Iraq turns this fault into a grave issue.
The author candidly states that in the name of democracy promotion and nation building, US should stop meddling in the affairs of sovereign countries, which are also members of UNO. US has no right to mind other’s business, it should mind its own business.
James Dobbins being the former Assistant secretary of State under President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and Clinton Administration’s first envoy to the sensitive area like Bosnia etc. is eminently suited to comment on the misadventure of Bush administration in Iraq. US seem to have forgotten the lessons that it learnt and the mess that it created for it in World War I and World War II. US initially did not oppose Hitler and paid heavy price for it. It took that excuse for attacking Vietnam in the 1960s, though the issues involved were entirely different, and suffered the humiliating defeat. The former top brass which served under George Bush in important positions of the administration, including military generals oppose Bush. Vice-President Dick Cheney is also his critic: “the Bush administration is already on its second defense secretary, third CIA director, third commanding general in Iraq, and fourth top diplomat there — and thus far, none of these changes has reversed a worsening situation. This suggests that the source of at least some of the United States’ difficulties in Iraq transcends particular personalities.”(Dobbins, 2007) The four important ‘organs’ of the Government, the White House, Congress, the State Department, the Defense Department and the CIA are at loggerheads and are playing the game of musical chair. No one is willing to take the blame and is deeply and cleverly involved in shifting responsibility. President Bush says, the intelligence community misled him. Where are the weapons of destruction that he was harping upon? Rumsfeld says that the President took the unilateral decision on war without seeking advice. Even the unsolicited advice tendered by Colin Powell, former secretary of State, opposing the war, had no effect on Bush. Did Bush secure doctored intelligence reports to suit his decision to go to war—is the question perhaps, the future historians will answer. CIA had warned Bush about the consequences of a prolonged war.
With no weapons of mass destruction found, and that was the important reason advanced by George Bush to invade Iraq, the creditability, if any, is lost. The no-regrets stance and the continued massive military presence, where hundreds of young precious lives are lost in mindless violence—all these have made the issue already complicated. There is no other solution to the issue, except total withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq. Earlier it is done, the better it is, as the lives of the soldiers are in peril, and the family members are praying for their survival and safe return Discontent amongst the lower ranks in the forces is more dangerous than the adamancy of the top military/political administration