Monday, January 15, 2007

Council Winners

[posted by Callimachus]

Watchers Council winners for the week of January 12 have been posted.

First place was a dead heat between Why Is There Still a CIA? from Done With Mirrors and American Fascists by The Colossus of Rhodey.

I left something out of that post because it really deserves a post of its own, but I don't know if I'll ever get time to write it. It centers on 1991.

People sometimes talk like the U.S. then, as leader of the coalition, had a choice of "press on to Baghdad and overthrow Saddam" after the first Gulf War or "leave him in power," and it chose the latter. But this was George Bush I in the White House, a former CIA director and very much a Cold War politician. He found a Cold War solution to the problem, which was, pull back the military and let the CIA finish the job on Saddam.

Better if the tyrant was toppled internally. Fewer dirty hands and less responsibility for the American government. And since his military had been smashed to bits, his credibility shredded, Saddam stood naked in the lion's den of Middle Eastern politics. A whopping two-thirds of his own population was ready to personally string him up, and his surviving generals were so disgusted they were ready to turn on him.

It was such an easy job, only the CIA could have botched it. By all accounts, it did. The relevant paperwork probably will be classified for the rest of our lives, then "accidentally" destroyed or lost. But enough is known, or can be surmised, to say it was a magnificent and costly failure, even by CIA standards.

Votes also went to Weekend Monkey: Let's Play ‘You're the Qadi!’ by Joshuapundit; Once Wrong Doesn't Mean Always Wrong by American Future; and Skies Darkening Over China by The Glittering Eye.

Outside the council, the winner was A Strategy for the Long War by Blackfive.

Votes also went to Jimmy Carter and the Business of Quoting Dictators by TigerHawk; Is Israel Really Planning to Attack Iran's Nukes? A Re-Examination by Israel Matzav; Israel's Military Options, Revisited by In From the Cold; Blood, Guts, and Wasted Children by The Half-Baked Sourdough; Why We Fight the Thieves of History by Diary of an Anti-Chomskyite; and A Sliver of Hope in a Silver Lining by The Possum Bistro