Getting it Right on Iraq

Taking a page from Christopher Hitchens’ book, Jim Henley admits that he was right on the Iraq War.

Predicting ahead of time that a given war is a bad idea isn’t particularly hard, frankly. It’s a bimodal choice (War/No War) and wars are almost always “bad” in some sense that would be defensible down the road even if the political objectives used as justification for the war are achieved. Getting it right for the right reasons, though, is much harder and Henley did that.

His prescription for doing so in future cases, though, is a mixed bag.

War is a big deal. It isn’t normal. It’s not something to take up casually. Any war you can describe as “a war of choice” is a crime. War feeds on and feeds the negative passions. It is to be shunned where possible and regretted when not. Various hawks occasionally protested that “of course” they didn’t enjoy war, but they were almost always lying. Anyone who saw invading foreign lands and ruling other countries by force as extraordinary was forearmed against the lies and delusions of the time.

The opener — “War is a big deal. It isn’t normal. It’s not something to take up casually.” — is quite right. Because we have an awesome conventional military advantage over any conceivable opponent, too many people think war is an easy call and should be the first best choice for dealing with bad foreign policy situations. It isn’t.

That said, the extreme conclusion — “Any war you can describe as “a war of choice” is a crime.” — is unjustified. The United States has never fought a war that couldn’t legitimately be called a “war of choice.” Without having chosen war, however, we would not have achieved our independence, ended slavery, of defeated European fascism. Wars are almost always tragic and they seldom produce a short-term gain that exceeds their toll. Sometimes, though, they’re worthwhile.

Had I known what I know now about Iraq’s WMD program, I wouldn’t have supported the invasion. Democracy promotion is not a reason to chose war. The goals we set out to achieve were worthwhile but the odds of reaching them were so slim that it wouldn’t have been worth the cost in blood and treasure to try. Sometimes, though, longshots pay off and, had we managed to quickly replace Saddam with a stable, democratic government, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now.

The pop psychology of “War feeds on and feeds the negative passions. It is to be shunned where possible and regretted when not. Various hawks occasionally protested that “of course” they didn’t enjoy war, but they were almost always lying” strikes me as unworthy of the piece. To be sure, the clinical nature of televised high tech warfare can seem too much like an action movie. And it’s easy to cheer when a building thought to contain Saddam Hussein gets hit by a missile. But it’s silly to suggest that we chose wars for the thrill of it.

The closer — “Anyone who saw invading foreign lands and ruling other countries by force as extraordinary was forearmed against the lies and delusions of the time.” — is essentially just a restatement of the opener. Yes, we should be more skeptical of bold claims of quick, easy victories. Yes, we should be more demanding of answers on exit strategies and contingency options. Yes, we should be skeptical of hype and fight against the emotion of the moment.

I’m not absolutely sure that doing those things would have stopped us from going into Iraq five years ago. We had been, as Jim himself was reminding people more than five years ago, in a state of war with Saddam’s regime since August 1990. There was a longstanding, bipartisan consensus that he was a bad actor, trying to development nuclear weapons, and needed to be removed from power. Despite more than a year of public debate leading up to the war, we ultimately concluded, as evidenced by sweeping votes in both Houses of Congress, that war was our best option.

The initial aim of war — the removal of Saddam’s regime — was achieved much more easily than all but the most naive proponents believed. It was the post-“major combat operations” transition phase that went horribly wrong. That might have happened even if we had done everything right, which we decidedly did not. The planning was inadequate, critical decisions were bungled, and the strength and size of the ensuing insurgency grossly underestimated.

None of the failures in the stabilization operation can be attributed to the lust for violence, the sense that war was business as usual, or the manipulation of Karl Rove and company. Mostly, that’s a combination of hubris and the sweet but misguided sense that people everywhere are just like us and that, liberated from their oppressors, they’ll immediately transform into Sweden.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Media, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Cernig says:

    The United States has never fought a war that couldn’t legitimately be called a “war of choice.” Without having chosen war, however, we would not have achieved our independence, ended slavery, of defeated European fascism.

    Ah c’mon James. You know Jim’s talking about the kind of pre-emptive, preventative war of choice, rather than defensive war, which is proscribed as illegal under the UN charter. Parsing his words as meaning anything but that is unfair to Jim, knowing him as you do.

    Regards, C

  2. Steven Donegal says:

    Had I known what I know now about Iraq’s WMD program, I wouldn’t have supported the invasion. we wDemocracy promotion is not a reason to chose war. The goals we set out to achieve were worthwhile but the odds of reaching them were so slim that it wouldn’t have been worth the cost in blood and treasure to try. Sometimes, though, longshots pay off and, had we managed to quickly replace Saddam with a stable, democratic government,ouldn’t be having this conversation now.

    James, I am actually surprised you could write that paragraph with a straight face. There were many knowledgeable people who had spent a lot of time in Iraq monitoring weapons who were telling you exactly what you know now. But those facts were somewhat inconvenient–so they were belittled and disregarded. But it is next part that makes me wonder about your bona fides. That second part–you know, establishing a stable replacement government–was going to be necessary whether there were WMD in Iraq or not. If the odds of establishing such a government were in fact so slim, shouldn’t that have made us even more cautious on the WMD question–not just their existence but whether their existence was really a significant threat to the US? The proponents of this war and the subsequent occupation were staggeringly wrong about every facet of it. And yet, they continue to insist that, despite that less than distinguished track record, they should be listened to and taken seriously about how to go forward in Iraq. Personally, I’ve had enough. I truly hope the American people have had enough of being Charley Brown to the neo-con’s Lucy and soundly reject the McCain view of the world. After eight years of Animal House philosophy in the White House (“You F*&^ked up, you trusted us!), it really is time for someone who was actually right about Iraq to be listened to

  3. legion says:

    Steven D is entirely correct. _Lots_ of experienced, respected people were saying _exactly_ this before the invasion, but truth was unimportant to the people making decisions. As Henley himself notes,

    War is a big deal. It isn’t normal. It’s not something to take up casually.

    Unfortunately, that’s _exactly_ how the entire decision to begin this war of choice was handled – casually. Invading Iraq was entirely and totally unnecessary to US security. It was based purely on the whimsy of GW Bush. We were not prepared for it, and while the invastion proper may have been handled well, there was literally no thought whatsoever put into what to do after the shooting stopped. That casual attitude, along with Bush’s limited attention span and inability to follow through on anything he’s ever done (don’t dare me to source that accusation – the comments here don’t allow posting that many links in a comment; but it’s quite self-evident, and easily demonstrable through Google. Mars, bitches!) doomed the US militarily and economically from day one.

    And the point is many people knew this would happen, but were ignored, insulted, and marginalized by war hawks of both parties. For people like Hitchens and other revisionistic asshats to come in now and say “mistakes were made” is merely continuing evidence of their collective soullessness. Pardon my rant.

  4. yetanotherjohn says:

    Actually, the war is not the issue. If we just sent troops in, had them break things and kill people, that part is relatively easy. A couple weeks tops. It is the trying to put things back together that is hard. It is trying to build a democracy rather than just replace an unfriendly strong man with a friendly strongman.

  5. anjin-san says:

    What Steven said…

  6. James Joyner says:

    You know Jim’s talking about the kind of pre-emptive, preventative war of choice, rather than defensive war,

    Of course. But the War for Independence, the Civil War, and WWII were wars of choice under that definition. We haven’t been invaded by an enemy power in our history and even Afghanistan long since stopped being about the 9/11 attacks.

    many knowledgeable people who had spent a lot of time in Iraq monitoring weapons who were telling you exactly what you know now. But those facts were somewhat inconvenient 

    Everyone from Bill Clinton to Kofi Annan to Jacques Chiraq thought Iraq had a WMD program going on. So, yeah, the handful of people who were saying that it wasn’t so were thought of as kooks.

  7. Triumph says:

    James, I am actually surprised you could write that paragraph with a straight face.

    Dude, this is the internet–we can’t tell if James is smirking or not. I would guess that he is being satirical. No serious observers believed that Iraq had WMDs.

  8. Hal says:

    Sometimes, though, longshots pay off and, had we managed to quickly replace Saddam with a stable, democratic government, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now.

    Neither if the Supreme Court hadn’t intervened in the 2000 election, I’d wager.

  9. Triumph says:

    Jacques Chiraq thought Iraq had a WMD program going on.

    This isn’t true. On the eve of the war, President Chirac was interviewed on CNN:

    Q. — Do you believe that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction; for instance, chemical or biological weapons?

    THE PRESIDENT — I don’t know. I have no proof of that. What we can say today is that if we believe Mr ElBaradei and his team of experts, there are no longer any weapons, there are no nuclear weapons or programmes capable of manufacturing nuclear weapons. That is something that the inspectors seem to be sure of.

    http://www.ambafrance-us.org/news/statmnts/2003/chirac_cbs031603.asp

  10. Cernig says:

    War for Independence – under the “no taxation without representation” rule that’s a defensive war against an illegal occupier (and this is a Brit saying this). WW2 – umm…the Japanese and Germany had a pact, y’know. You couldn’t declare war on one aggressor and have the other leave you alone. Leaves you with the Civil War. You can argue that was an illegal war if you like – I’m sure it would make your Southern conservative readers happy. 🙂

    Regards, C

  11. Cernig says:

    The meta-point being, James, arguing that “we’ve started a lot of wars that were illegal” is not a good defense.

    Regards, C

  12. Cernig says:

    Nice catch on Chirac, Triumph – another one of those “everybody knows” memes that turns out not to have been true.

    Regards, C

  13. Triumph says:

    Nice catch on Chirac, Triumph – another one of those “everybody knows” memes that turns out not to have been true.

    James’ contention that Kofi Annan “thought Iraq had a WMD” program is also bogus.

    From a Jan. 2003 press conference:

    Question: Let me ask you about a topic that you do not really hear about often with regard to Iraq. In the past, you have said that Iraq must face its responsibilities. You have also said you have been opposed to the war and any type of military offensive. Right now, with regard to the state of play, what is your opinion? Should there be a military attack on Iraq -— if a country such as the United States goes ahead -— especially if no weapons of mass destruction are found?

    The Secretary-General: I do not think, from where I stand, that we are at that stage yet. The inspectors have a responsibility in Iraq. The Council has asked them to pursue the disarmament programme and report back, and then the Council will make a determination —- if Iraq has performed or not. If there is a breach, the Council will then have to take the decision. I think the inspectors are just getting up to full speed. They are now quite operational and able to fly around and get their work done. I think we should wait for the update that they will give to the Council on the twenty-seventh, and hear what further instructions the Council gives them. But the inspectors are carrying on with their work, and I think the resolution is very clear that it is when the inspectors report back, either at the critical stages in their work or if there are unforeseen developments that they bring back to the Council, that makes the Council determine that there has been a breach, and, therefore, there should be serious consequences. I do not think we are there yet.

    http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/SGSM8581.doc.htm

    Annan basically was saying, “let the inspectors do their work and the Security Council will make a determination on the existence of WMDs.”

    James seems to be falling in the Bush/Rumsfeld/Powell/Cheney trap of equating “think” with “know.”

  14. glasnost says:

    But it’s silly to suggest that we chose wars for the thrill of it.

    I don’t agree. And furthermore, you have no evidence to the contrary. Frankly, I strongly suspect that a lot of Very Serious People genuinely supported the war for the most banal of reasons. Because it felt good to have America kick ass, and because kicking ass makes us strong. That’s not far from ‘the thrill of it’ – dressed up in overhyped threat rationale.

    Not as bad as the uber-cynical “we’ll win the next election” that I will always believe GWB chose based on, but pretty terrible. Don’t overestimate human nature, James. We’re monkeys in suits, and it goes all the way up to the top.

  15. vnjagvet says:

    Two observations:

    First, the “war” part of the Iraq campaign was successful and relatively casualty free.

    Second, our forces were clearly adequate to vanquish Sadaam’s allegedly strong military “juggernaut”, in spite of the problems caused by not getting the Fourth Division through Turkey.

    Where it went wrong was the failure to continue US military control (not civilian administration under Bremer) until there was clearly established order in the country.

    After WWII, both Germany and Japan were under military control for nearly five years before transitioning to US civilian control. West Germany did not take responsibility for its own government until 1955.

  16. just me says:

    Second, our forces were clearly adequate to vanquish Sadaam’s allegedly strong military “juggernaut”, in spite of the problems caused by not getting the Fourth Division through Turkey.

    Where it went wrong was the failure to continue US military control (not civilian administration under Bremer) until there was clearly established order in the country.

    While I still think the reconstruction period would have been difficult, I think this is a good point. We were too quick to get the military face off the war, and turn it over to civilians, and I think that made problems worse.

    Although the poor lack of planning on that end doesn’t change much in regards to the whether the war should have happened in the first place debate, but I do think we were too quick to turn everything over to the civilians.

    WWI was pretty much entirely a war of choice for everyone involved. And the US was never really under any threat.

    And I think the Revolutionary War can arguably be considered a war of choice.

  17. HighPlainsJoker says:

    I do not accept the first premise: that we had to go to an all out invasion to remove Saddam from office. There were political and diplomatic means, coupled with a limited incursion that should have been tried first. With him and some of his cronies gone, a better, if imperfect but Iraqi government could have been put in place.

  18. Bithead says:

    I do not accept the first premise: that we had to go to an all out invasion to remove Saddam from office. There were political and diplomatic means,

    None of which have ever worked.

    Have you others to offer?

    Have such ‘diplomacy’ efforts worked, for example in North Korea, where the support structures for the dictatorship are far less?

    And I agree it is silly to suggest we went in for the hell of it. Such charges do play well among the Democrat faithful, and those farther left, don’t they?

  19. Bithead says:

    While I still think the reconstruction period would have been difficult, I think this is a good point. We were too quick to get the military face off the war, and turn it over to civilians, and I think that made problems worse.

    Mmm. And guess why we did that? To placate the pacifists here in the ‘states. The ones charging we went into Iraq just for laughs, now.

  20. anjin-san says:

    Welcome to Bithead’s alternate reality… the reason Bush totally failed in Iraq after Saddam’s fall, why “pacifists” of course. Can’t have anything to do with the fact that they basically did no planning for post-Saddam Iraq.

    I guess that would make Bush a total wuss and a weak president now would it not? Placating pacifists was more important to him that getting in right in a war he claims is utterly vital to the security of the United States.

  21. This is an interesting post. We’d love to have your point of view represented in this week’s Carnival of Politics, a weekly blog magazine about politics. If you’re interested please consider submitting this post at http://www.carnivalofpolitcs.com/submit.

  22. Ben says:

    Those quotes from Chirac and Annan are helpful but also depressing. It makes me wonder what else I think I “know” is actually BS.

    Some things seem to go beyond whatever regular conventional wisdom is. It’s like they get ingrained into our history and become just another (false) part of our collective story.

  23. Bithead says:

    Welcome to Bithead’s alternate reality… the reason Bush totally failed in Iraq after Saddam’s fall, why “pacifists” of course.

    Don’t include ME in your fantasy. Bush didn’t fail, but the anti-war crowd certainly did make victory harder to achieve.

  24. legion says:

    Bush didn’t fail, but the anti-war crowd certainly did make victory harder to achieve.

    Oh really, Bithead? It depends on how you and Hitch and the other historical revisionists want to define “success”. The whole point of invading Iraq was to make the US safer by a)eliminating Saddam’s WMDs (which we knew damn well he didn’t have then) and b)eliminating an AQ strongpoint/supply/training area (which we also knew damn well Iraq wasn’t). With a side dish of getting rid of Saddam & an assumed side-effect of “promoting democracy”, whatever the hell that means.

    With the single, solitary note of Saddam’s death, Bush has failed miserably at everything else. The US is not safer, AQ is not weaker, the Taliban, thanks to our foolhardy re-direction of military resources, is on the verge of beoming the dominant force in Afghanistan once again, and efforts to spread democracy and American values throughout the ME have been set back at least a generation.

    And this doesn’t even take into account his domestic failures, from the economy, to the crashing dollar, to social security, to healthcare, etc., etc., etc. Mark my words, this administration will be remembered as the worst, most corrupt, most incompetent in US history.

    What Hitch and the other pundits are trying to do is play the “well, those mistakes are all in the past” card to try and regain some influence in the waning months of this administration. However, the incompetents who hubristically led us into the situation we’re in are simply unqualified (to say the least) to get us out.

  25. anjin-san says:

    Sorry Bit, but you have publicly admitted that Bush is such a weakling that he allowed a bunch of latte-sipping left wingers to dictate Iraq policy to him at an absolutely critical time.

    As a result of this inability to provide strong leadership in wartime,AQ has gained a foothold in Iraq, and America’s national security is in grave danger.

    Bush himself keeps telling us that our safety as a nation may well rest on what happens in Iraq. Our children’s future is now in jeopardy because Bush lacked the backbone to stand up to some hippies.

    Sorry dude, you can’t have it both ways. Either Bush was incompetent, or his was a weakling. Your own line of reasoning can lead to no other conclusion…

  26. Bithead says:

    Oh really, Bithead? It depends on how you and Hitch and the other historical revisionists want to define “success”. The whole point of invading Iraq was to make the US safer by a)eliminating Saddam’s WMDs (which we knew damn well he didn’t have then)b)eliminating an AQ strongpoint/supply/training area (which we also knew damn well Iraq wasn’t).

    As I’ve said, pure fantasy, all points.
    But of course you knew that going in. Don’t you get tired of working from a busted flush?

    Sorry Bit, but you have publicly admitted that Bush is such a weakling that he allowed a bunch of latte-sipping left wingers to dictate Iraq policy to him at an absolutely critical time.

    Given the makeup of Congress, that’s kinda hard to avoid.

  27. Grewgills says:

    Given the makeup of Congress, that’s kinda hard to avoid.

    So, “We were too quick to get the military face off the war, and turn it over to civilians” in mid 2003 because of the Democratic congress and it is us living in a fantasy world?
    Do you think before you type?

  28. Hal says:

    You really do live in Bizarro world, Bithead. Somehow, the democratic congress which was only voted in last year has powers that sweep back in time beyond five years to the planning phase of the Iraq war and force the President to take heed. I’m wondering what other super powers they might have. Only the mind of Bithead knows for sure.

    Further, it’s quite clear from – oh, I don’t know – the architects of the Iraq war, themselves, that going in with the number of troops that they did had nothing to do with satisfying peacenicks, rather it was an explicit strategy to show that we can topple governments without even breaking a sweat – something that we surely accomplished beyond any doubt. It’s pretty well known that democracies don’t like long wars, and it really has nothing to do with peacenicks.

    It’s rather odd that from Shinseki on down, anyone who pointed out we’d need far more troops than we were sending were dismissed and/or fired. Considering that Senator Byrd, one of those “peacenicks” in Congress who you say prevented teh Bush from doing the right thing, described in great detail that vastly more troops would be necessary to accomplish the stated goals.

    Considering that Cheney recently said in an interview that what the american people think isn’t going to allow him to be “blown off course”, it’s pretty clear that you’d have to be a clown of inordinate magnitude to believe the crap you’re shoveling.

    Really, Bithead. Give us even a tiny shred of evidence – from the actual time period in question, not some bizarro theory where by the Congress of 2008 wields an iron fist in 2003 – that supports your theory. I’m sure you’ll entertain us with your wild gyrations and rather comical stylings in the attempt to do so. I mean, I’ve heard some doozy of explanations as to why Iraq failed, but yours really wins the booby prize hands down.

  29. Bob says:

    Wars of choice would include Korea (we could have sat it out), Viet Nam, Mexican-American War, Spanish-American war, WWI, and Panama (again, could have deferred). We also have chosen to insert our troops into Sinai, Balkins, Somolia (twice), Lebanon (twice), etc.

    WWII was not a choice for US vs Japan nor against Germany. Hitler chose to formally declare war on US. Of course we could have chosen to sue for peace rather than insist on Unconditional Surrendor.

    Hal, again Shinseki was neither fired nor dismissed. He served his entire term as Army Chief of Staff.

  30. Hal says:

    He served his entire term as Army Chief of Staff.

    Yes, I keep hearing y’all say that, but reports at the time indicate he was undercut by Rumsfeld in 2002:

    In April 2002, 14 months before Shinseki was due to retire, The Washington Post reported, quoting “Pentagon officials”, that his replacement had already been selected. “In another unusual move, Rumsfeld has tapped Army Gen. Jack Keane, the No. 2 officer in the Army, to succeed the current chief of that service, Gen. Eric Shinseki, whose term runs out next year. Selecting a successor for the current chief so far in advance is highly unusual.”[9] This reported departure from precedent somewhat undercut Shinseki’s authority within the Army.

    Something even Tom Maguire believes was shiv in Shinseki’s back by Rumsfeld.

    I’m sure there’s enough plausible deniability here to make any statement you want, but what’s pretty clear is that when the President’s economic advisor, Lawrence Lindsey, said the cost of the Iraq war was going to be around 200 billion dollars, he was fired for speaking this.

    The pattern is clear and consistent. Anyone who said that Iraq was going to take a whole lot more resources than Rumsfeld, et. al., wanted to hear were shived, let go or rerouted.

  31. Bithead says:

    So, “We were too quick to get the military face off the war, and turn it over to civilians” in mid 2003 because of the Democratic congress and it is us living in a fantasy world?
    Do you think before you type?

    Yes.
    There is no other conclusion to draw, if you’re being honest.

    Of course, I don’t expect that from Democrats, so don’t worry about it.

  32. anjin-san says:

    Given the makeup of Congress, that’s kinda hard to avoid.

    So given the fact the GOP had complete control of congress when Bremer was appointed and the massive post-Saddam screw ups in Iraq took place, Bush had no choice but to defer to the left…. ahhhhh, OK.

    Run along bit… arguing with my 10 year old nephew would be far more difficult and interesting…

  33. Bithead says:

    Considering that Cheney recently said in an interview that what the american people think isn’t going to allow him to be “blown off course”, it’s pretty clear that you’d have to be a clown of inordinate magnitude to believe the crap you’re shoveling

    .

    So, you’re admiting the continuous and nonsensical resistance being put up by the left had no effect at all?

    An interesting admission, if a little too convieinient.

  34. anjin-san says:

    Actually, to claim that even the new Democratic majority in Congress is able to force Bush to do anything is kind of a joke. The Democrats in congress have been pretty much spineless since taking control on the hill. Bush & the GOP members have forced them to cave in time and time again. They have handed Bush a number of blank checks on Iraq.

    So even if you throw in a time machine, Bit’s position is a laughable…

  35. Bithead says:

    Actually, to claim that even the new Democratic majority in Congress is able to force Bush to do anything is kind of a joke

    I suspect those in office are balanced between what their own left (As in, you, for example) wants, and wat the reality of the situation requires.

  36. Hal says:

    Bithead, can you please just enlighten us as to how the congress of 2008 is able to reach back in time to 2002-2003 and force a republican executive branch to bow to its will while a republican congress is rubber stamping everything? Further, considering that the AUMF had already passed, and the Administration didn’t need Congress to approve anything it was intending to do, no approve any budget for what it was doing, what possible leverage can the 2008 congress wield on the past?

    Please. We all want to hear how this works.

  37. anjin-san says:

    Bit,

    Please tell us how the makeup of Congress in 2003 forced Bush to appoint Bremer, who would go on to compound the screwups Bush already had in place.

    Or are you just engaging in a rant & run?

  38. anjin-san says:

    So, you’re admiting the continuous and nonsensical resistance being put up by the left had no effect at all?

    The majority of Americans oppose the war. Guess Bit is admitting that “the left” constitutes the majority and that Bush is badly out of the mainstream…

  39. Bithead says:

    In what alternate universe?

  40. anjin-san says:

    In what alternate universe?

    So now you are stealing my lines? At least try to be cool bit…

  41. Bob says:

    Hal, I agree that Shinseki was nuetered by Rumsfeld but he did serve his entire term. Shinseki had problems within Army such as the Beret issue.

    And just how was the Bush administration any different than previous one? Hardly surprising that administrations want appointees to toe the line. You want to play at that level then you need to understand the rules

  42. Hal says:

    Bob,

    Okay, I’ll amend my initial statement to reflect that Rumsfeld shived him, and he spent the remainder of his time neutered.

    You want to play at that level then you need to understand the rules

    I’m not arguing that. The line of discussion is the assertion that somehow Bush was hamstrung by trying to appease the peacenicks and that is why we didn’t have enough troops to win the occupation.

    My only point is that one can’t have it both ways. Bush was in control 100%, and Iraq was done precisely as they intended.