Given the flurry of commentary on the anniversary of our invasion of Iraq and the reaching of the 4000-dead-US-soldiers milestone by people who were wrong about Iraq, my egomania pushes me to point out how right I was. I was not blogging then, but on the day that Tikrit fell, the end of any semblance of the Saddam regime and just when the first looting began in Baghdad, a point more than any other when it looked like the US had "won," I wrote a column that was published about a week later in our very conservative local paper, the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record. I made six forecasts, three "positive," three "negative." All have proven to be correct. I did not forecast the nature of the future Iraqi government, nor did I forecast that there would be an insurgency nor how serious it would be. My forecasts, and brief commentary.
1) Saddam would no longer violate anybody's human rights (I did not foresee that US troops would be engaging in torture subsequently).
2) US troops in Saudi Arabia to oversee the no-fly zones could be removed, thereby removing one of Osama bin Laden's leading propaganda tools (more than offset by the length and severity of our occupation of Iraq).
3) That whatever regime would come to power in Iraq, the ending of economic sanctions would be a positive (more than offset by the negative impact of the insurgency on the Iraqi economy).
1) Women's rights would be reduced (Laura Bush likes to say they are enhanced, but women must wear veils and stay at home in a majority of Iraq, although not in the Kurdish-ruled areas; there they may be better off, my only possible mistake here).
2) Christians would be persecuted (about half the Christian population of Iraq, some of which has been there for nearly 2000 years, has left the country).
3) The invasion would serve as a recruiting tool for al Qaeda, in my mind the most important and overwhelming of all these. Indeed, the fact that there was no al Qaeda in Iraq before the invasion but it is now the US's worst enemy there proves this. Indeed, the only reason they have for existing is our presence there. If we pulled our troops out, they would be reduced to near zero very soon thereafter, another forecast from me!