What if the tactical mistake we made in Iraq was that we didn’t kill enough Sunnis in the early going to intimidate them and make them so afraid of us they would go along with anything? Wasn’t the survival of Sunni men between the ages of 15 and 35 the reason there was an insurgency and the basic cause of the sectarian violence now?
Among those finding this noteworthy were Tristero, Matthew Yglesias, Mark Kleinman, and Gregory Djerejian. But what I don’t think many people remember is that in 2004 John Podhoretz’s mother, conservative luminary Midge Decter, frankly explained the real reason we attacked Iraq:
“We’re not in the Middle East to bring sweetness and light to the world. We’re there to get something we and our friends in Europe depend on. Namely, oil.”
So there you have it, straight from the world’s most appealing family: we invaded Iraq for the oil, but we may have made a mistake by not killing millions when we got there.
BONUS: Decter’s daughter is married to Elliot Abrams, making him John Podhoretz’s brother-in-law. Abrams, now on the National Security Council, pleaded guilty to misleading Congress over Iran-Contra. He also tried to cover-up the 1981 El Mozote massacre in El Salvador, in which 900 men, women and children were slaughtered.
I imagine big family occasions with this merry clan are really something.
“Has the caterer gotten here yet?”
“No. Let’s drop napalm on his town and then move house to house, shooting any survivors.”
“Sounds good! What about the band? Are they going to play standards, or more contemporary stuff?”
“I don’t know. Let’s pay a proxy army to rape and murder all the women and then go on a bloody rampage, killing thousands more.”