Towards A Good Samaritan World

Friday, November 18, 2005

"Bush has lost his gamble," concludes James Klurfeld. Because now the Senate seems to be under-cutting his war.

How does he figure? For the 1000th time, Bush got rid of Saddam. That's the main thing.

"Bush lied" isn't the only historical revisionism that's going on here. There's also this surreal, postmodern idea that a war in which the enemy was defeated and the main war objective achieved can somehow be lost.

Bush won his gamble.

3 Comments:

  • While I disagree completely with the author's premise, I do agree with the statement that Bush has lost his gamble. I think Bush's gamble was that the US could go to war, and unlike what happened in Vietnam, stay the course through to victory. Yes, defeating Saddam was victory. Bush could have called the troops home right then and left Iraq to its fate. Instead, Bush decided to stay until Iraq had a democratic government - the first in the Arab world, and planted the seed for bringing the Arab world out of an incompetent swamp of moral, political, economic, and social backwardness that brought us 9/11, even if Saddam was not directly involved, and into the modern world. He bet that the American people would support him in that mission. The media and some liberals have been against the war in Iraq from the start, but their opposition had no impact on public opinion. Now, however, public opinion has shifted against the war and the US will cut and run, with potentially serious consequences for the world. The only hope is that others in the Arab world are beginning to see that blowing up innocents is not a rational political policy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:31 AM  

  • Lancelot, given that one of your best justifications for the war was to allow an end to sanctions that were dreadfully harming the Iraqi people, how could you claim that victory could include allowing Iraq to collapse into a civil war doing vastly more harm than the original sanctions.

    World War II would not have been considered a victory if it had been won by obliterating all life in Europe.

    By Anonymous Tom West, at 1:34 AM  

  • Well, first of all, independently of whether or not the war was good policy, I think it's worth nitpicking a bit about the semantic issue of whether we "won" the war. The idea that it's possible to lose a war when one has defeated one's principal opponent and achieved one's main war objective is at odds with all past notions of winning and losing wars. I think it's worth resisting this postmodern re-definition of the vocabulary of war. Those who want to claim that the war was not worth it, fine: say we fought and won a war which, however, was not worth it because of various undesired consequences. That way, the meaning of words can remain constant across time, which is a value in itself.

    Genghis Khan devastated the lands he conquered but still won his wars. If we had "obliterated all life in Europe" in World War II, we would have been modern Genghis Khans-- bad, but winners nonetheless.

    Of course, in Iraq, there's no danger of obliterating all life. Even the civil war scenario is, in my opinion, an improvement over totalitarian rule. To me, and certain to a lot of Iraqis whom I've come to know through the blogosphere, to live in truth is a hundred times more valuable than to live in slavery, and we would prefer to fight a civil war for our freedom than to live under Baathist tyranny if we had even a slight hope of survival (and maybe even if we didn't). By that standard, the situation is nowhere near bleak enough to cast doubt on the what we might call the "first Iraq War," the liberation phase in April 2003, though it may cast doubt on whether what we might call the "second Iraq War," the occupation that tried to establish democracy, did any good.

    However, I might as well say where I stand: for all practical purposes, I'm 100% behind the troops and the administration. I support the invasion, I am skeptical about the "botched occupation" and "incompetence" charges and I doubt that any other policies would have made the transition work much better than it did (and even if there were such policies, it would have taken such genius for the administration to find them that it's unrealistic to expect that of them); I want us to stay on now until we can negotiate a withdrawal with the new Iraqi government after December; and I think Iraq will make a sucessful transition to democracy, though the terrorism problem is likely to prove fairly intractable, as Israel can attest. And if my wife would allow it, I'd sign up tomorrow to go fight there myself.

    By Blogger Lancelot, at 11:42 AM  

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