Leading Neocon: ‘Biggest Lesson’ of War is the ‘Ingratitude of the Iraqis’

Neoconservative commentator Daniel Pipes was among the most fervent cheerleaders for the Iraq war. In essays and speeches, Pipes consistently predicted the “war in Iraq will lead to a reduction in terrorism” and the spread of regional democracy. (For this, Bush rewarded Pipes with a controversial recess appointment to the U.S. Institute for Peace.)

Now — three years, $300 billion, 2,300+ U.S. lives, and one anarchic civil war later — Pipes has learned an important lesson.

Q: What is the biggest lesson you have learned from the Iraq war?

A: The ingratitude of the Iraqis for the extraordinary favor we gave them — to release them from the bondage of Saddam Hussein’s tyranny. They have rapidly interpreted it as something they did and that we were incidental to it. They’ve more or less written us out of the picture.

To be fair, in Pipes’ world view, this does make some sense. Iraqis should be gracious for what’s happened in their country, since it’s been such a “success.”

Q: How will we know when the occupation or the invasion of Iraq was a success or a failure?

A: Oh, it was a success. We got rid of Saddam Hussein. Beyond that is icing.