The Left And Right Got A Lot Of Things Wrong About Iraq, But This Isn’t One Of Them.

by John Hawkins | July 17, 2009 2:07 am

A number of lefties (See here[1], here[2], and here[3] for examples) have seized on predictions made by conservative bloggers[4] at Right Wing News back in 2003.

Here’s the question I posed back then,

If we go into Iraq, how many casualties do you expect to see (on the side of the US and our allies)

Now, here are the answers:

John Hawkins: “Probably 300 or less”
Charles Johnson:”Very few”
Henry Hanks: “Less than 200”
Laurence Simon: “A Few hundred”
Rachael Lucas: “Less than three thousand”
Scott Ott: “Dozens”
Glenn Reynolds: “Fewer than 100”
Tim Blair: “Below 50”
Ken Layne: “a few hundred”
Steven Den Beste: “50-150”

There’s no clear delineation between the invasion and the occupation afterwards in the question, but it was designed to solicit information, not to keep disingenuous liberal bloggers from taking it out of context more than five years later. That being said, obviously the estimates were for the invasion — and incidentally, there were people in the media predicting that the US would lose 10,000 plus soldiers making their way past the “elite” Republican Guard.

So, getting back to reality: those estimates were for the invasion of Iraq, not for a six year occupation — and they were roughly accurate, especially compared to sky high estimates many people on the Left were coming up with for the invasion.

The invasion began on March 19, 2003 and on May 1, 2003, they declared the end of major combat operations. In March and April of 2003, there were 138 Americans killed and 542 wounded[5].

Now, if you’d like to point out things that people got wrong before the war, there are more than a few.

Very few people on the Left or Right were talking about a long-term, manpower intensive occupation. The costs of the war were vastly underestimated as well. As has also been much discussed, many people on the Left and Right were wrong about Saddam having a WMD program[6] although hundreds of Gulf War era WMDs were found.

On the other hand, liberals claimed that we were going to war for oil, that the surge wouldn’t work, and that the US could never win in Iraq — although it is of course possible that Obama may yet snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and prove them right.

So, I’d say there’s plenty to point to that both sides got wrong on Iraq — without having to jam round predictions from 2003 into a square hole in 2009.

  1. here:
  2. here:
  3. here:
  4. predictions made by conservative bloggers:
  5. 138 Americans killed and 542 wounded:
  6. wrong about Saddam having a WMD program:

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