Saturday, February 24, 2007

Iraq: When Hindsight is not 20-20

Jane Galt looks at arguments that we should have stayed out of Iraq because:

  1. Millions of French, British, and Canadians can't be wrong;
  2. We lacked a UN mandate; and,
  3. It was a war of pre-emption.
She concludes that none of these hold water:'s as if other countries had no agency or interests; they're like experts voting on our behaviour. But other countries opposed us in war (to the extent they did; I note that the French were the ones who got us into Vietnam, and the British et. al. were military advising right along with us until things got hairy, at which point they bugged out not because of concerns about our capabilities, but because of worries about their own soldiers getting killed) for all sorts of reasons...

More fundamentally, this is the problem that I was talking about when I said earlier that I had trouble teasing out principles by which I would have prospectively made a different decision about the Iraq war--i.e., not knowing either that Saddam had no WMD, or that Iraq was destined for civil war. It is not that no one suggested these possibilities; but the overwhelming number of arguments I heard involved things like the moral principle of preemption and the fact that we were going in without the imprimatur of the UN.

I don't want to cut and paste the entire thing, but it's a sound analysis. Go read it.

No comments: