Jesse comments on the post-Saddam aftermath:
Long-Term Impacts Of The Capture
1.) The terrorist/Iraqi insurgency: Now, we’ll find out whether they’re fighting for a Saddam Restoration or against American occupation. While I certainly hope it’s the former (and that a speedy trial of Saddam set up over the next couple of weeks where his various horrific crimes are read in front of him, and he’s summarily locked up and interrogated lawfully until he dies), I fear that it’s much more the latter.
I think in the short run, we will see two results. First, the so-called ‘dead-enders,’ those Ba’athists and Saddam loyalists, will probably step up their efforts to create chaos, so I would not be surprised to see a small uptick in the frequency and ferocity of incidents. That should taper off, in very little time.
Second, the people are now no longer going to be afraid. Before, when they talked about Saddam, reporters frequently noted that there was still a sense of fear because Saddam was at large. That is gone, and I expect Iraqi’s will help the coalition more, and begin to quickly turn against the foregin jihadis/insurgents.
Third, the manner in which Saddam was captured, without even putting up a fight, might mute resistance. The emperor has no clothes.
2.) The hunt for WMD: Given the extent to which Saddam was apparently deluded about his own WMD program, I highly doubt he’s going to have any useful information.
I sure hope Jesse is wrong. I believe that WMD was one of many reasons justifying this war, and I have been horribly upset with our inability to turn up WMD. I believe it may be the greatest intelligence failure of my lifetime. I want to know where the WMD are, if there were any.
3.) The reconstruction: Its progress depends in large part on the insurgency. If there’s still one next year, the capture of Saddam, while a huge morale boost, if there’s still an anti-American (rather than pro-Saddam) opposition effort, we’re talking about the tip of the iceberg rather than the base.
I expect an international coalition will be involved with a large-scale reconstruction effort within 6 months.
4.) The PNAC plan: As we can see from Bush’s stance on Taiwan upsetting the “one China” balance, our ability to democratically remake the world through war isn’t going to work the way Bush or the neocons have planned. It’s going to be at least a year and a half in Iraq (provided the power transfer goes as planned in July, which I doubt) – these adventures, regardless of how ultimately successful or justified you believe them to be, are harder and take longer than those in charge plan for. It’s simply not a coherent or tenable policy in the long term.
Not sure what to make of this statement, as it is based on a bunch of ‘ifs.’ The one ‘if’ remains- ‘if’ power is turned over to a reformed Iraq in a timely period (1-3 years), as far as I am concerned, the PNAC crew was right.