Not as Easy as They Thought

Gideon Rose, "The Hawks Were Wrong" (Slate, 3/25/03):

With a few notable exceptions (such as Robert W. Kagan and, more recently, Kenneth Pollack), the Iraq hawks' favored strategy for toppling Saddam involved supporting the Iraqi opposition and, in particular, the Iraqi National Congress. Most of the dirty work of regime change, they argued, would not have to be done by the United States, but rather could and would be done by Iraqis themselves. The only things needed from America were financial and diplomatic support, training and equipment, and air cover. The actual fighting, if there was any, would be contracted out to local forces. . . .

But the war's progress to date is enough to put paid to the idea that Iraq was a paper tiger and that Saddam might have fallen quickly and easily to the less-than-daunting military prowess of the INC.