Wednesday, July 13, 2005

 

Fifteen Years and Four Wars

Victor Davis Hanson has an excellent post on the last fifteen years. An excerpt:

The First Iraqi War ("The Gulf War," "Persian Gulf War," "Gulf War I," "The Four-Day War," or "Iraqi-Kuwaiti War") started over Saddam Hussein's August 2, 1990, invasion of Kuwait.

A rather different 13-year Second Iraqi War followed. Despite its length, the nebulous effort was not a mere "cold war."

The Third Iraqi War — variously known as "Gulf War II" or "The Three-Week War" — was a conventional conflict. It began with the bombing of Baghdad and ended with the toppling of Saddam's statue

The Fourth Iraqi War ("The Insurrection," "The Occupation") began immediately after the end of the conventional fighting and continues today.

Just as there was no third war with Germany or second war with Vietnam, there will probably be no fifth war with Iraq. We have finally learned our lesson: Victory or defeat and a change of circumstances — not breathing spells with dictators, U.N. resolutions, realpolitik truces, no-fly zones, or cruise missiles — finally end most wars.

But at least this final war in its ambitious goal to end the cycle is honest, and so will be decisive in the way the other three were not. If War IV is now the costliest for the U.S. and the most controversial of the series, it is because it is for all the marbles and offers a lasting and humane solution — and every enemy of the United States in the Middle East seems to grasp that far better than we do.

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