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Jasen Farmer

Shared August 25, 2018

May we someday learn; #war #Iraq #Libya

we basically believe in illusions — the idea that nation-building and counterinsurgency will be avoided.

Look at Iraq, where the United States believed it could topple Saddam Hussein and basically leave as quickly as possible. We would overthrow the tyrant and then the Iraqi people would be free to create their own democracy. That was based on massive overconfidence about what would happen after Hussein fell.

So why do we go to war if we hate counterinsurgency and we struggle at it? The reason is the White House convinces itself it doesn’t need to stabilize or help rebuild a country after a war. But it’s not just the Bush administration — think of the Obama administration too.

Barack Obama was a very thoughtful president and talked at length about his foreign policy thinking. At the heart of the Obama doctrine was “no more Iraq War.” And yet he basically made the same mistake in Libya, where there was very little planning for what would occur after Muammar Qaddafi was overthrown in 2011. In fact, Obama went on the record saying that the Libya intervention was his worst mistake a president.

Jasen Farmer

Shared August 25, 2018

Hubris & old ways make for inconvenient & troublesome adversaries in #war #Iraq

American power turned out to be a double-edged sword.

The US was so powerful after World War II, especially after the Soviet Union disappeared, that Washington was tempted to intervene in distant conflicts around the world in places like Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

We ended up intervening in countries where we had little cultural understanding. To illustrate this, in 2006 — at the height of the Iraq War — there were 1,000 officials in the US embassy in Bagh