Friday, June 13, 2003

Retrospectives

Matthew Yglesias has posted a retrospective on his support for the Iraq war, pre-invasion, and his feelings about it three months afterward. It's another recommended read. I came at this from a direction opposite to the one Matt took. I was pretty much opposed to invading Iraq from the beginning, not because I was convinced one way or the other by the arguments for or against the war but because I just didn't trust the Bush crowd not to fuck it up. Not the military action itself, which I had little doubt would succeed, and which the Bushies had the least influence over (despite Donald Rumsfeld's best attempts to make it so). It was the lead up and the follow through that I was worried about. I think history and recent events have vindicated my fears on this. Bush really is a fuck up and I think he will continue to be a fuck up as long as anyone gives him any kind of responsibility over anything. But, even despite that, over time I came to believe that, if properly presented, I could have been a hawk for invasion. But, like Matthew and Josh Marshal, I came to the conclusion that there just wasn't sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the threat was so imminent that it was necessary to wreck 50 years of international cooperation in order to engage in a unilateral pre-emptive action. I am convinced that the UN would have eventually backed military action in Iraq, though it might have taken another year of inspections and wrangling and concessions to reach that point. If we had done so then we could have gone in under an umbrella of international support that would have made the subsequent maintain-the-peace operation that much easier to sustain. Instead we are now one of the most distrusted nations on Earth, essentially alone in the task of maintaining order in one of the most chaotic hellholes in the entire world, with all the commensurate death, destruction and financial ruin that such a situation entails. Thank you Mr. Bush for proving my misgivings to be spot on.

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