A lot of people who once supported our military action in Iraq are now opposing the war. I think I can understand their feelings, since I share some of them from time to time. Victor Davis Hanson has an article up on National Review where he looks at what really got us into Iraq
The U.S. Senate and House voted for war in Iraq, not merely because they were deluded about the shared intelligence reports on WMD (though deluded they surely were), but also because of the 22 legitimate casus belli they added just in case. And despite the recent meae culpae, those charges remain as valid today as they were when they were approved: Saddam did try to kill a former American president; the U.N. embargo was violated, as were its inspection protocols; the 1991 accords were often ignored; the genocide of brave Kurds did happen; suicide bombers were being given bounties; terrorists, including those involved into the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, were given sanctuary by Saddam; and on and on.
He points out what remarkable success we had as we started the war.
Long forgotten is the inspired campaign that removed a vicious dictator in three weeks. Nor is much credit given to the idealistic efforts to foster democracy rather than just ignoring the chaos that follows war — as we did after the Soviets were defeated in Afghanistan, or following our precipitous departure from Lebanon and Somalia. And we do not appreciate anymore that Syria was forced to vacate Lebanon; that Libya gave up its WMD arsenal; that Pakistan came clean about Dr. Khan; and that there have been the faint beginnings of local elections in the Gulf monarchies.
He notes the irony that those who are currently opposed to the battle in Iraq ("Where are the WMDs? You had no good reason to bring us in here!") were sometimes the same people who thought we were (or are) immoral for not intervening duriung other human rights crises around the globe.
Not long ago, abdication — from Rwanda or Haiti, or from the Balkans for a decade — not intervention, was the supposed sin. There were dozens of Darfurs in the 1990s, when charges flew of moral indifference. The supposition then — as now — was that those who called for boots on the ground to stop a genocide would not unlikely be the
first to abdicate responsibility once the coffins came home and the military was left fighting an orphaned war.
I don't like the picures I see coming back from Iraq. But I'm bound to suspect we'd see similar things from any war. I expect that if our current media situation had been in place during WWII, I'd be speaking German right now.
I totally agree with you that the wars are ugly. Furthermore, a country can start the war at will, but cannot finish it quite the same way, as we are discovering now.
This is why wars require serious thinking, which is still sorely lacking in the Rumsfeld's office.
Democratic pollster Patrick Caddell says that the vast majority of Americans are unhappy with Iraq, but that only 20% of them think we ought to leave any time soon. What most Americans want, per his research, is a winning strategy. Most Americans don't think we've got that right now.
Caddell worries, however, that the Democratic leadership mistunderstands this and thinks that all unhappiness about Iraq equates to a desire to cut and run. He thinks this is going to lead to a lot of problems over the next couple of years.
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