THAT WAS THEN ...
Have just had a peek at Ken Miles' excellent blog
where I was directed to a Brookings Institute publication called *The Use of American Military Force in the Post-Cold War World* by Richard Haas (1999)
What had caught Ken's eye was appendix E: 'US Forces: Challenges Ahead'
Here's a taste: "The Gulf War was a limited-objective war. If it had not been, we would be ruling Baghdad today - an unpardonable expense in terms of money, lives lost and ruined regional relationships (p217) - would it have been worth the inevitable follow-up: major occupation forces in Iraq for years to come and a very expensive and complex American proconsulship in Baghdad? Fortunately for America, reasonable people at the time thought not. They still do (p 219)."
The author was a chap named Colin Powell.
PAX-FREE NEW WORLD 'ORDER'
That 'Axis of Evil' quip was a real bottler, eh?
I remember still the uncomfortable lurch of the bowels occasioned by those words when first I heard them fall from those petulantly pursed lips.
The words had taken me back, you see, to the charnel-house that was the first-year class-room of a certain Namibian high-school in the sweltering summer of sixty-nine. The teacher had left us for a minute, - to direct an ambulance to the woodwork class if memory serves - when Erik The Elephant (no surnames - the bloke may even now be pulling the heads off wombats just up the road for all I know) announced to the class that Rooinek Schaap was a Kommie Kaffir-Boetie.
All present fell so silent they could actually hear my bowels dissolve. The new kid was going to die.
But not easily! At recess, I took advantage of my sudden and complete ostracisation - shuffling quietly, as if in the deep reflection that befits the condemned, past the third-year field hospital and on towards the row of boabab trees that marked the school cemetery. Taking cover behind the home economics gibbet, I secreted a stout boabab branch in my school bag and a fist-sized rock in my pocket. The Elephant would make his move after school, and I would be as ready a watery-bowelled scrawny runt as ever the world had seen.
I did actually manage to deploy the rock when my time came. Nearly hit him, too. I like to think that, had I been able to open either eye when finally I did return to school, I would've discerned a new respect in the eyes of my peers, but I shall never know.
Anyway, the point of this heroic tale is that when someone gives you notice they're coming for you, you do your best to ready yourself.
Iran, a polity that had long been making steady progress towards détente and moderacy, predictably responded to Shrubya's gratuitous bellicosity by cooking up some weapons-grade metal
For its part, North Korea promptly reopened the plant it already had and duly started testing its delivery systems. They're still doing that, and Washington's response has been to threaten some really serious diplomacy.
It seems to Yours Dismally that the lesson Team Shrubya is bent on teaching the world - that no-one messes with the new-improved Uncle Sam - is not the lesson being learned 'out there'.
What they're learning out there is that it doesn't matter what you do or don't do (Iraq, after all, has neither done nor said anything particularly threatening to anyone - as befits a country whose practical offensive capacity was wiped out years ago).
What they're learning out there is that you have to be like North Korea.
You have to have nukes.