The War Was Right, the President Was Wrong

Looking back on the decision to go to Iraq.

Five years ago, Congress and President Bush made the most consequential and, as now seems more likely than not, unfortunate decision of this country's still young century. On October 16, 2002, Bush signed a resolution authorizing the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Should war supporters apologize?

Democrats certainly think so. In the five years since then, many of them have said "I told you so" -- many more, in fact, than told us so. In a recent paper, Gary C. Jacobson, a political scientist at the University of California (San Diego), unearthed figures suggesting that some Democrats have edited their memories. Before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, 46 percent of them favored the war, according to an average of a dozen surveys. In 2006, only 21 percent of them said they had favored the war. Hmm. Do the math.

Those 25 percent of Democrats who were for the war until they had always been against it were probably not dissembling. They were just being human. "Memory is a self-justifying historian," says Carol Tavris, a social psychologist and a co-author (with Elliot Aronson) of the recent book Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. "Our memories are a better indication of what we believe and how we see ourselves today than of what actually happened."

I believe her, because I was not above a little memory repair myself. Recently, after a book review of mine appeared in The Washington Post, an angry reader wrote, "It will come as no surprise that Rauch was an advocate of invading Iraq." Who, me? I recalled myself as an agonized fence-sitter, more anti-anti-war than pro-war (an important distinction, you understand), maybe marginally in favor but more worried than convinced.

Just double-checking, I reread my columns from the period and promptly found one, from February 2004, in which I described myself as an, er, "advocate of the war." Gee. Imagine that.

So let me say for the record: I was wrong. Like most Americans, I have long since come to believe that the Iraq war was a strategic mistake -- with luck. (Without luck, it will be a strategic calamity.) But let me also say what I was wrong about.

In that February 2004 article, I called the war a "justified mistake." When a cop shoots a robber who has murdered in the past and who brandishes what looks like a gun, we blame the robber, not the cop -- even if it turns out that the robber was brandishing a toy or a cellphone. The robber was asking for it, and so was Saddam Hussein.

That answer, although still reasonable, no longer seems as convincing. Since 2004, it has become clearer that the Bush administration's prewar hype portrayed the intelligence on Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction as solider and starker than it really was. Not enough people, including people in the media, asked enough hard questions. I should have been more skeptical of the WMD hard sell. That was mistake No. 1.

Mistake No. 2 was forgetting the difference between experts and poseurs. Over the past few years, it has become clearer that the hazards of the U.S. occupation of Iraq were not unforeseeable. In fact, quite a few people foresaw them. And warned about them. And went unheeded. Partly that was because the Bush administration wasn't interested, but partly it was because a lot of us in the media gave a lot of ink and airtime to pontificators who had never been to Iraq, who had never fought in a war or served in an embassy or worked on a reconstruction team, and who did not know Iraq's language, culture, people, leaders, history, or region. Other than that, they were experts.

In 2002 and 2003, of course, there was no way of knowing which of countless forecasts and opinions would prove correct. The experts were divided; sometimes fresh-eyed amateurs see what jaded experts miss; the previous U.S. Iraq policy was no big success. All true. Still, the fact that so many of the war's sturdiest proponents were journalists and pundits -- in other words, hacks, like me -- should have rung more alarm bells. That was mistake No. 2.

Those, however, were small mistakes compared with the fundamental one. It was not, really, a mistake about the war at all. It was a mistake about the president.

Fool me twice, shame on me. In 1990, I was fooled once. In the prelude to the Persian Gulf War, I misjudged President George H.W. Bush. In those days, America's most resounding recent military triumphs had been against the Lilliputian forces of Panama and Grenada, against which weighed the 1975 defeat in Vietnam, the 1980 fiasco of Desert One (President Carter's failed hostage-rescue attempt in Iran), and the 1983 humiliation in Lebanon (where U.S. forces turned tail after losing more than 200 marines to a Hezbollah truck bomb). Saddam Hussein's forces looked formidable and well entrenched in 1990. The sandstorms looked forbidding. And President George H.W. Bush looked hapless. I opposed the war.

The U.S. military proved virtuosic, the Iraqi military proved worthless, the desert proved tractable, and, much the most important, the elder Bush proved dazzling. He marshaled an unprecedented coalition. He won decisively in hours. He quit while he was ahead. He even got other countries to pay. He should not have stood by as Saddam savagely put down postwar rebellions; but otherwise his performance was masterly, not least in its realism and restraint.

As I came to the 2002-2003 Iraq debate, I was determined not to make the same mistake twice. Another Bush was president, and the younger one looked as decisive as his father had once seemed dotty. This, after all, was the George W. Bush who had impressively rallied the nation and the world after September 11.

His foreign-policy team looked easily the equal of his father's, or anybody's. Vice President Cheney was the wise man of Washington and the elder Bush's successful Defense secretary. Secretary of State Colin Powell was the magisterial architect of the Gulf War. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was the man whose plan had worked like a charm in Afghanistan. If Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, was not the equal of her 1990 predecessor, Brent Scowcroft, she was no lightweight. Surely if any war Cabinet could inspire confidence, this was it.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    "No one could have known in 1860 that Lincoln, a lawyer and military novice, would develop into a commander-in-chief of genius." Lincoln was "a commander-in-chief of genius"? I don't think so. His side had a lot more of everything, and he still almost lost the war. Genius? Come on…

  • ||

    BB,

    To Lincoln's credit, at least he chose some decent generals to run the thing.

    Whether or not you agree with W.T. Sherman's methods, he was damn effective...

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    When a cop shoots a robber who has murdered in the past and who brandishes what looks like a gun, we blame the robber, not the cop -- even if it turns out that the robber was brandishing a toy or a cellphone. The robber was asking for it, and so was Saddam Hussein.

    What was Saddam brandishing? In 2003, how was he asking for it exactly?

    The answer, of course, is oil. It is too bad that Mr. Rauch still can't acknowledge his true mistake, even as he makes a big show of admitting what he wants us to believe was his mistake.

  • ||

    Gee, a lefty saying that use of government power is ok as long as it's the right people wielding that power. How unexpected.

  • ||

    Jesus, Rauch is embarrassing. What does this have to do with "free minds and free markets"?

  • ||

    Taktix,

    It took Lincoln years to find a decent general, and during that process he stuck with some less than useful ones. In Grant he found perhaps not a great tactician, etc. but a man willing to fight bloody battles and not flinch.

    Rauch,

    Of course, if the Bush administration had been willing to let the inspections regime go forward a little longer what they were finding out would have been confirmed.

  • ||

    Could someone tell that windbag that actually, mistake number one was accepting the Bush administration's pre-emptive doctrine as legitimate? Threat is not equivalent to force. We initiated the use of force in this instance. Embarassing is right, Reason has no excuse publishing this pile of garbage.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    One of the things I've not quite been able to comprehend about the "if only we'd waged the war better" notion is how it tends to ignore what is most obvious. Invading Iraq (or any country) is going to allow various pressures to be unleashed which were kept in check in "peacetime." That is just inevitable no matter how much planning one does. As this process unfolds people are going to do lots of things that you don't plan for, don't like, etc. because they have their own agendas, etc. In other words, I don't think leadership was as much of an issue as Rauch makes it out to be.

  • Jennifer||

    So in response to the 9/11 terror attacks, it would have been a wise idea to ignore countries like Saudi Arabia that actually had some connection with the 9/11 terrorists, to go after a nation that had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorists. . . so long as this bullshit false-pretense preemptive war was fought by someone who could actually win it?

  • iih||

    Of course the robber (Saddam) was killed, the problem is that 600,000 bystanders were also killed in the shootout. Sure, it was all just "collateral damage".

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    Saudi Arabia that actually had some connection

    It makes sense when you think about the pattern of oil sales. Otherwise, no.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    iih,

    That's one of the reasons that analogizing foreign policy and warfare with shooting a burgler falls flat.

  • ||

    Why is Rauch writing in Reason? War is bullshit. Wars should only ever be fought in self defense. The Fighting Quaker said it best:

    "WAR is a racket. It always has been.
    It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives."

    This article is on Mises.com Jonathan read it and wake the fark up. Here is a preview: Robert Higgs, Schlaurbaum laureate, delivers his address:

    The state is the most destructive institution human beings have ever devised - a fire that, at best, can be controlled for only a short time before it o'erleaps its improvised confinements and spreads its flames far and wide.

    Whatever promotes the growth of the state also weakens the capacity of individuals in civil society to fend off the state's depredations and therefore augments the public's multifaceted victimization at the hands of state functionaries. Nothing promotes the growth of the state as much as national emergency - war and other crises comparable to war in the seriousness of the threats they pose.

    The article is called: The Song is Irresistible: How the State Leads People to Their Own Destruction.

    Obviously you have not thought at all about the war beyond the bullshit that the MSM has put out. We have displaced about 2 million of Iraquis and some estimates have placed the death toll of Iraqui citizens at close to a million people. We lost 3000+ in 9/11 and the Iraquis didn't have shit to do with it. So how twisted is your mind that you think this war is somehow legit. Why aren't we in Saudi Arabia bombing the shit out the place that gave birth to Wahabiism and 15 of the terrorist involved in 9/11?

  • ||

    Yes, Lincoln at least won his war, but I don't think he achieved anything close to "genius" level. He, like Grant, basically said, "we have a lot more men, money, industry etc… just lean on the them until they collapse." I am not sure a "genius" would have taken 4 years and hundreds of thousands of lives to defeat a much weaker enemy. History is always much kinder to winners than losers… I wish Bush would learn this, but I suspect he will manage to delude himself into thinking he won for the remainder of his life.

  • iih||

    Hans-Hermann Hoppe might have been able to provide an answer as to why Iraq here (mp3 -- a lecture given at the von Mises Institute.)

  • iih||

    err... "as to why the Iraq invasion"

  • carrick||

    http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/

    Get yer dogma offa my lawn

  • ||

    The war was wrong. There is no excuse for endorsing this war, even half heartedly. The foolishness of this was was evident to anyone who cared to look. That's why hundreds of thousands of people turned out in the streets to protest in the weeks leading up to it.

  • ||

    Good piece, Jonathon. I was an "agonized fence" sitter for about month back in the Summer of 02.

    And it was my judgement of the President, and not some reasoning about the ideological or strategic soundness of the mission, that ultimately made up my mind.

    While we're coming clean, I was wrong when I opposed the first Gulf War. We can't let big countries gobble up their smaller neighbors, and I shouldn't have let the anti-war drumbeat from my social circle blind me to that fact.

  • ||

    Misleading the American people about the reason for war was a mistake. Snubbing our traditional allies was a mistake. Disbanding the Iraqi Army was a mistake. ...certainly it was a mistake to disband it before it was disarmed. De-Baathification was a mistake. Poor implementation of a poorly rewritten interrogation policy was a mistake. Not having more boots on the ground was a mistake...

    I could go on. Sure, there were many mistakes, but just because mistakes were made, that doesn't mean the job could have been done well.

    Remaking other people's cultures at the point of a gun is a fool's errand--it wouldn't have mattered who had undertaken it. Sure, it takes a special kind of fool to pursue such a task with enthusiasm, but wise men don't undertake fool's errands. A wiser fool might have made fewer mistakes, but it wouldn't have made the task of remaking Iraqi culture any more realistic.

    Some people seem to have mistaken the Iraqi people's enthusiasm for getting rid of a vicious dictator for the desire to replace their own culture with ours. ...but the Iraq people didn't want us to remake their culture any more than we wanted them to remake ours. Anyone who critiques the Iraq War and doesn't account for that, in my opinion, still doesn't get it.

  • ||

    On the more general point of Rauch's article, SoS and others are correct. It is ridiculous to say this was the right war but the wrong c in c. I don't want to fall into the analogy trap, but it is similar to liberals who say, "this is a great welfare program, but we need better people in office to run it!". Right. Attacking a weak country that poses absolutely no threat is a very poor idea. Doing it in that part of the world is exponentially stupid.

  • ||

    I have a weird and convoluted mind. Jonathan Rauch's argument/half hearted apology, somehow reminds me of "Socialism/Communiism will work, it just hasn't been done right yet". I don't know why. It just does.

  • ||

    I think some of you are misreading Rauch's point.

    His regret that we had such a lousy president running things doesn't extend back to "Shock and Awe" Day, but to the beginning of the process that brought the war into being. He wishes we had a more decent president considering what to do about Iraq. He wishes we had a more decent president discussing the level of threat posed by their WMD programs. He wishes we had a more decent president deciding what to do when the Blix team inspectors reported that there didn't appear to be any WMDs. And if we'd had a more capable, honest, and ethical president during that time, we probably wouldn't have launched a war.

    At least, that's my reading.

  • Kevin Killough||

    How does one go about "asking" to be invaded by a superior military force?

    Is Kim Jung Il not asking for it? If so, what specific steps are required before Kim Jung Il begins "asking for" an invasion by the United States? What specifically did Saddam do to ask for it? Because, like the hypothetically robber, he's killed people in the past? If so, what nation isn't asking for it?

    Rauch does a great job of conceding his mistakes while never really apologizing for anything at all. He pretends that the rationale for war was so crystal clear that it's just a matter of doing it right.

    According to Raunch, it's okay to go to war regardless of the rationale. It's only wrong if you lose.

  • ||

    Remaking other people's cultures at the point of a gun is a fool's errand--it wouldn't have mattered who had undertaken it.

    Well said. Maybe that explains my previous post.

  • 700,000 dead Sumerians||

    Shameful.

  • ||

    Ken Shultz (who, if anyone cares to look through the archives, has been as unerring right about this war from the beginning as anyone I've seen, heard, or read),

    I don't think the Bushies thought they were "remaking someone else's culture at the point of a gun."

    They seemed to think that, once the Baathists were removed from power, the Iraqis would join hands, lift Ahmed Chalabi onto their shoulders, and buy the world a Coke, all by themselves.

  • ||

    Your last paragraph is dead on, Ken Shultz. The current "success" stories coming out of Iraq are all of the "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" ilk. The Iraqis were happy for us to get rid of Saddam. That does not automatically equate to flowers, elections and schools named after George Bush. We are currently seeing the same thing in parts of Iraq. Factions in Iraq are happy to use us when it makes sense to them. Don't mistake short term alliances of convenience for long term strategic alliances. All it means is that the US is at least one notch lower on the enemy list than whoever we are fighting for them.

  • Mike Laursen||

  • ||

    Wow, I usually think Mr. Rauch is one of your better writers, but I'll second many of the commenters so far; this is a steaming pile of BS. Yeah, Saddam was a bad guy. There were many other ways to deal with that without a preemptive invasion and all the loss of life (not to mention other costs) that inevitably result.

  • ||

    I am so glad I don't pay for this magazine anymore. This is terrible.

  • Mike Laursen||

    We can't let big countries gobble up their smaller neighbors, and I shouldn't have let the anti-war drumbeat from my social circle blind me to that fact.

    "We" meaning a bunch of young men and women that you would send off to foreign wars while you sit safely at home.

  • ||

    What the hell has happened to America the land of the free and the home of the brave. We definitely aren't free, at least as the Founding Fathers would have understood freedom. I believe public education oops I mean public indoctrination has been our downfall. We believe that the state was created to protect us. When really the point of all states is to transfer wealth and power from the people to those parasites who run the states apparatus. Witness the get out of jail free card that the telecoms are getting by members of our illustrious Senate. WTF!!!!

  • Syloson of Samos||

    joe,

    Well, whoever wrote the write-up also is apparently misreading Rauch.

  • ||

    "Jonathan Rauch's argument/half hearted apology, somehow reminds me of "Socialism/Communiism will work, it just hasn't been done right yet". "

    You know, that line always reminds me of people of an ideological stripe who often say "Free markets will work, it just hasn't been done right yet."

    Or it's popular cousin where someone says in response to any problem in a market society (the Depression, the uninsured, etc.) that it was just the "mixed" nature of our market that made the problem. The market never, ever does anything less than perfect.

  • ||

    I haven't read this article and don't plan to - this is one of those war supporter apology non-apologies, correct ie I was wrong, Things are Terrible, but if only the war had been run by the Duke of Wellington & Socrates combined.

  • ||

    We definitely aren't free, at least as the Founding Fathers would have understood freedom.

    True, since the FF's understood freedom to mean "only if you're rich, white, and male."

  • ||

    Has anyone written an analysis of how market forces do not seem to work when it comes to writers / "experts" on the war? Shouldn't the Weekly Standard be out of business? Have they been right on anything regarding the war? Why do I still see Krytal everywhere? Has anyone paid the price for being wrong? And by paying the price, I only mean fewer bookings on TV, or occasionally being called out on the fact that they were wrong about everything and are still being used as an "expert"? What a gig…

  • ||

    Free markets would work if the government if they existed. Our markets aren't anymore free than socialist countries markets. Democracy is socialism painted with a veneer of choice. The tyranny of the majority is still tyranny. And how can you have free markets when you have subsidies and tariffs that benefit business at the expense of competition. When the government is helping your business by hurting the competion how is that a free market?

  • ||

    A bunch of terrorists from a variety of countries attack American targets, yet attacking the country of Iraq was supposed to be the right response? Somebody needs to be reminded of basic libertarian principles.

  • ||

    scratch that if the governments oops

  • ||

    Mike,

    Amen, brother.

    I've got no gripe with the war in Afghanistan. The Taliban government were at the very least offering safe harbor to somebody who attacked us and they deserved to be removed (and I was one of the ones who went to serve). But Iraq didn't even meet that standard:

    1) Saddam had committed no attack against the United States prior to the 2003 invasion (the last openly hostile act being a failed assassination attempt against George H.W. Bush in Kuwait in 1993).

    2) Saddam had committed no invasion of a neighboring country for over 10 years.

    3) Saddam's forces were militarily contained by the U.S. at a minimal cost in both money and lives, and he was in no danger of breaching that.

    4) Saddam's Iraq lacked the economic resources to build a nuclear arsenal capable of destroying us and we had no solid evidence he'd even progressed as far as building one nuke (Thomas Ricks discussed this in "Fiasco").

    5) Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda were enemies because bin Laden perceived Saddam as an apostate (the enemy of my enemy is my friend).

    6) Removing Saddam would predictably tilt the regional balance of power in favor of Iran and lead to a lengthy occupation with no benefit to the U.S. (as Bush 41 and Dick Cheney specifically noted in their memoirs).

    The war from the outset was about regime change and forced democratization, not WMD. The WMD were just a rationalization for a plan Bush had since the beginning of his tenure (as Paul O'Neill pointed out in "The Price of Loyalty"). There was nothing justified about the Iraq war. Absolutely nothing.

  • ||

    Mike Laursen,

    "We" meaning a bunch of young men and women that you would send off to foreign wars while you sit safely at home.

    Yep. Just like when I say "We shouldn't let people trespass on other people's property," and "We shouldn't burglars break into Mike Laursen's home and kill him for his jewelery."

    Put yourself in physical danger to defend anyone's property rights, Mr. Libertarian? Work for the police, do you? No?

    What was your point again?

  • Loupeznik||

    Isn't the point of this magazine come down to individualism and property rights. Mr. Rauch, if this war was such a good idea why didn't/ don't you fight it? Why do you sacrifice others on your alter? Cheap oil or even peace in the middle east are not worth my life. Neither is our role as policeman of the world. If you support it, show me.

  • ||

    SM,

    Please, read the article. The write-up in the blog post is misleading. This was NOT a "right war, fought badly" piece.

  • ||

    Joe,

    If you wanted to go off and fight Saddam's Iraq you were more than free to go start an international brigade and do so. The point at which you ask others to go do the fighting is the point at which you lose moral authority in the argument.

  • ||

    Joe,

    And read the ending of Rauch's article. He explicitly made the point that it was the right war fought wrongly by the wrong president.

  • ||

    UCrawford,

    If you want to evict trespassers from people's property in Des Moines, you are perfectly free to do so. Where's your police badge, Mr. High and Mighty?

  • ||


    Kevin Killough | October 19, 2007, 10:50am | #

    How does one go about "asking" to be invaded by a superior military force?



    Simple. Have an inferior military force and be handy to someone who wants to show off his superior military force.

  • ||

    "We can't let big countries gobble up their smaller neighbors, and I shouldn't have let the anti-war drumbeat from my social circle blind me to that fact."

    It is not our responsibility to be the policeman of the world. Let smaller countries form alliances to deter bullies in the area. One thing, they'll never do it as long as they have America to fight their battles for them.

  • ||

    The Founders were hypocrites Master T that doesn't mean they didn't understand what centralized government would end up doing to our freedoms. Read the anti-federalist papers. We are losing are freedoms and most Americans could care less because they are scared of the terrorist. When did we become a nation of fearful sheep.

  • ||

    He explicitly made the point that it was the right war fought wrongly by the wrong president.

    No, his point was about the AUTHORITY, not FIGHTING THE WAR.

    A better president would have used that authority is a more responsible manner.

    You can agree or disagree with this position, but it is not an explicit, or even implicit, statement of support for the war.

  • ||

    Good post, UCrawford. On top of that there are several *very bad* reasons to invade Iraq. It has a GDP smaller than Fairfax Country, VA. US troops hammering Muslims makes for bad copy (good propaganda for enemies) regardless of whether or not Saddam was "asking for it". The next generations of bin Ladens will surely reference the US invasion and occupation of Iraq as their number one beef. Basic research shows that an occupation of Iraq by the US would likely fail. A white, Christian army (as they see us) in the heart of the Arab world? What could go wrong? The reasons you list are more than sufficient to kill any idea of an invasion, but there are others as well.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    joe,

    In general analogizing between domestic crime and foreign policy and war does not seem very profitable to me.

  • Loupeznik||

    "Or it's popular cousin where someone says in response to any problem in a market society (the Depression, the uninsured, etc.) that it was just the "mixed" nature of our market that made the problem. The market never, ever does anything less than perfect."

    The beauty of free markets is that they work even when they are only used in part. They work better the more free they are. Central control never works. The closest thing to effective central control is war and it's all bloody for all involved. It's a matter of who loosed least.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    joe,

    Nothing in the post seems to indicate that Rauch thinks the war itself was a bad idea. Perhaps Rauch can comment on that issue.

  • ||

    S.o.S.,

    I agree, but in the narrow case - the charge that one cannot support a government action if one does not work for that branch of government - the analogy to libertarians who want to send police to get all scratched up by crazy homeless trespassers is quite apt.

  • iih||

    Simple. Have an inferior military force and be handy to someone who wants to show off his superior military force.

    Well, Canada is just next door! It seems to fit the criteria ;-)

  • ||

    Here's the language at the end of Rauch's piece - the part that, according to on commenter, "explicitly made the point that it was the right war fought wrongly by the wrong president."

    February, asked for the umpteenth time to recant her war vote, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., for the umpteenth time refused. "The mistakes were made by the president," she said. In 2004, she said, "I do not regret giving the president authority.... What I regret is the way the president used the authority."

    She had a fair point. She might have sharpened it by saying what I have come to say: I do not regret giving the president authority; I regret giving this president authority.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    joe,

    That language doesn't say anything about whether invading was a good idea or not.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    joe,

    Anyway, you have to read that comment in light of what the resolution stated.

  • thoreau||

    If you wouldn't trust a crooked and incompetent politician to do it then you shouldn't trust any politician to do it, because there is no other type.

  • ||

    Wars fought to change other countries are inherently immoral. Who are we to decide what form of government another state should have look at the state of our "democracy". I believe we would make the world a much safer place if we minded our own business. Pre-emptive war is a con job and we need to stop falling for it.

  • ||

    S.o.S.,

    You're right, it doesn't. That's why I quoted it - to refute the notion, expressed above, that Rauch's continued to argue for the wisdom of launching the invasion.

    Anyway, you have to read that comment in light of what the resolution stated. I agree, and would add "...and in light of the debate that occuring in Congress arond the resolution." But, still, that is a different error - thinking George Bush would attempt to use means short of war vs. thinking it was a good idea to launch the war.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    BTW, did anyone think that once that resolution was passed that we weren't on our way to war? What I seem to recall after its passage are all manner of statements about "cocked guns," "mushroom clouds," etc.? At the time I recall being under the impression that war was coming and there was very little anyone could do about it.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    joe,

    It doesn't seem to demonstrate your assertion about Rauch either.

    ...thinking George Bush would attempt to use means short of war vs. thinking it was a good idea to launch the war.

    It was apparent to me (again, if my memory serves me correctly) that the Bush administration was readying for a war prior to the resolution.

  • ||

    S.o.S.,

    The administration and Congressional Republicans used just enough "of course war is a last resort; this is about disarming Saddam, not launching a war" language to give people who wanted to use that distinction as cover the ability to credibly do so. That authorization could have been used to, say, send American military units to back up the UN Inspectors in case of Iraqi interference.

    I'm not saying it was credible, just that it met the minimum for plausible deniability.

    And Rauch's point would still be valid - granting that Auhorization to a different president might not have meant that war was certain.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    joe,

    Anyway, I am sort of surprised you didn't use this language:

    So let me say for the record: I was wrong. Like most Americans, I have long since come to believe that the Iraq war was a strategic mistake -- with luck. (Without luck, it will be a strategic calamity.) But let me also say what I was wrong about.

  • ||

    Excerpt from The Song of the State is Irresistible:

    States, by their very nature, are perpetually at war - not always against foreign foes, of course, but always against their own subjects. The state's most fundamental purpose, the activity without which it cannot even exist, is robbery. The state gains its very sustenance from robbery, which it pretties up ideologically by giving it a different name (taxation) and by striving to sanctify its intrinsic crime as permissible and socially necessary. State propaganda, statist ideologies, and long-established routine combine to convince many people that they have a legitimate obligation, even a moral duty to pay taxes to the state that rules their society.

    They fall into such erroneous moral reasoning because they are told incessantly that the tribute they fork over is actually a kind of price paid for essential services received, and that in the case of certain services, such as protection from foreign and domestic aggressors against their rights to life, liberty, and property, only the government can provide the service effectively. They are not permitted to test this claim by resorting to competing suppliers of law, order, and security, however, because the government enforces a monopoly over the production and distribution of its alleged "services" and brings violence to bear against would-be competitors. In so doing, it reveals the fraud at the heart of its impudent claims and gives sufficient proof that it is not a genuine protector, but a mere protection racket.

    All governments are, as they must be, oligarchies: only a relatively small number of people have substantial effective discretion to make critical decisions about how the state's power will be brought to bear. Beyond the oligarchy itself and the police and military forces that compose its Praetorian Guard, somewhat larger groups constitute a supporting coalition. These groups provide important financial and other support to the oligarchs and look to them for compensating rewards - legal privileges, subsidies, jobs, exclusive franchises and licenses, transfers of financial income and wealth, goods and services in kind, and other booty - channeled to them at the expense of the mass of the people. Thus, the political class in general - that is, the oligarchs, the Praetorian Guards, and the supporting coalition - uses government power (which means ultimately the police and the armed forces) to exploit everyone outside this class by wielding or threatening to wield violence against all who fail to pay the tribute the oligarchs demand or to obey the rules they dictate.

    Democratic political forms and rituals, such as elections and formal administrative proceedings, disguise this class exploitation and trick the masses into the false belief that the government's operation yields them net benefits. In the most extreme form of misapprehension, the people at large become convinced that, owing to democracy, they themselves "are the government."

  • ||

    Jonathan Rauch argues that, looking back, the decision to wage war with Iraq was the correct one. The mistake was in having President Bush do the waging.

    You go to war with the president you have.

  • ||

    OK, I'm confused, SoS.

    What "assertion" I made about Rauch are you talking about?

  • Beware the Mahdi||

    You wanna know why we invaded Iraq? Geography. We invaded Afghanistan for legitimate reasons and Iran has been "asking for it" for years. So we invade Iraq under false pretexts and in the hope it will be quick, clean and complete in time for Afghanistan to be stable. Once both aims are achieved the US will then have a significant military presence on the eastern and western borders of Iran along with the borrowed military instillations we utilize in the rest of the region. Our military foot print in Iraq is hardly temporary and the only problem with Afghanistan militarily? No ports. It's been all about Iran since well before March 2003.

  • ||

    absurd, so you were dumb/naive enough to be surprised at the incompetence of this administration yet those of us who knew this was crap from the beginning are now supposed to look at your view on this as anything but worthless?

    The war has run it's course exactly as Dick Cheney knew it would be! This is success to them! You are just too dumb to realize it, look at the huge budgets(huge growth, yay!). Look at the vast new powers given to the office of the president and the government! (yay, huge success Bush!, good job!). Look at the near universal baahing fromt eh people as we exclaim"well you can debate why we went in , but there can be no debate that now we have to stay!" yay new bases abroad, new taxes...maybe conscription....we could have never achieved this without our precious "pearl harbor event!" exclaims gary hart over at the CFR! yay! says Gore, now maybe we can get serious about a global tax! CFR TEAM B won't be relelected so now the people have to vote for CFR team A and give us their rights and money to provide health care for all and global carbon taxes! yay bush is a hero! and he is already working with Hillary to insure a nice bipartisian transition of power, democracy is a huge success yay! Now, if we can just get rid of Ron Paul..hey Rauch, can't you write some more hit pieces on this guy!

  • Episiarch||

    Rauch is laying the groundwork for having a new (Democratic) president, and when they go attack Iran or whatever aggressive thing they do, he can say "it's about the leader, dude."

    He's just pre-emptively covering his ass, because he's making a good bet that the next asshole in power who attacks somebody will be on his side. That way, when somebody accuses him of being wrong about Iraq, he can point back to this article and say "no, see, I said I was wrong about the leader."

  • ||

    "I'm not saying it was credible, just that it met the minimum for plausible deniability."

    Hillary hurt her plausible deniability by voting against a measure at the same time that would have required more negotiation.

  • Minion of URKOBOLD||

    GABE HARRIS EXPOSES THE RANK TWADDLENOCKERY OF THIS ADMINISTRATION.

    EPICIARCH:

    WOULD THAT HE WOULD USE THE TRADITIONAL METHOD OF ASS COVERING - SIMPLY TIE YOUR L.L. BEAN CABLE-KNIT SWEATER AROUND THE WAIST.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Raise your hands if you though as of October 2002 that weren't going to war with Iraq?

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Some nice links re: the statements of various reps and senators on the October 2002 resolution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Resolution#External_links

  • ||

    RJ,

    I agree with your point about Hillary. BTW, as that other authorization measure was on the table - the one that would have required the inspectors to do their job, and the president to come back to Congress, before any decision was made to go to war - it was Democrats who sponsored the Blank Check AUMF that eventually passed.

    In the House, it was Gephardt and, IIRC, some Repubican. In the Senate, the bill was called Edwards-Lieberman. Yep, THAT Edwards.

  • ||

    Well, Canada is just next door! It seems to fit the criteria ;-)

    With the added incentive of natural gas!

  • ||

    Last time, Canada: stop impeding us from passing and repassing to the North Pole.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Why would anyone be asking for such a resolution in 2002 again?

  • Syloson of Samos||

    joe,

    I'll guess you'll have to remain confused then.

  • Mike Laursen||

    joe, there aren't many things that more clearly fall under the category of minding my own business than protecting my home and property. And I would, of course, be more than willing to get personally involved in doing so. To that end, my neighbors and I have agreed, at least tacitly, to support a police force to help all of us protect our property.

    There aren't many things that more clearly don't fall under the category of minding my own business than some foreign war on the other side of the planet. Neither I nor you would personally be interested in getting involved in the matter.

  • ||

    Sure, Mike, but unless you are an anarchist, and not a libertarian, you don't believe you should be all alone in protecting your home and property, that being an appropriate role for the state.

    What's more, unless you are an anarchist, you agree that the federal government in Washington should be involved in protecting your rights, too.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    So the question is not such about the nature of the particular President, but why any President should be given this particular authority in the first place?

  • ||

    I'll guess you'll have to remain confused then.

    That's ok. At least I know my way around here.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I guess I'm an anarchist then. It's other people's business whether they want to band together with me to provide mutual protection for our homes and property.

    If that banding together is in the form of the mid-20th Century European concept of a nation-state, fine with me. It's just another way of organizing society, a way that carries a lot risk of creating concentrations of power without accountabily, and that is starting to show its age in the modern, globalized world.

  • ||

    I can respect that argument from an anarchist, then. I disagree, but at least it's not hypcritical.

  • ||

    "In 2002 and 2003, of course, there was no way of knowing which of countless forecasts and opinions would prove correct."

    Since all outcomes are equally probable, we should just pick the one with the theoretical payoff which most conforms to our wishes.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Oh, and I never agonized over whether to go to war with Iraq. I was quite skeptical regarding the need for such from the start. I had a hard time understanding how Saddam's regime went from a nation which needed to be hit with "smart sanctions" to an existential threat.

  • ||

    BTW, did anyone think that once that resolution was passed that we weren't on our way to war?

    No. And that's why I don't get too excited about the fact that it wasn't technically a 'declaration of war' (as required by the Constitution), since it was unquestionably the moral equivalent of a declaration of war.

  • duster||

    I suppose this article has value in trying to understand why otherwise sane people were supportive of the Iraq occupation.

    It's hard for me to sypathize, but I'm not a journalist. I guess they're duty bound to take politician's cheap shit seriously.

  • ||

    Mr Rauch still missed his problem.

    His first problem was not insisting on
    a declaration of war.
    His second problem stems from the first:
    "nation building" is the province of Empires,
    not republics.
    We WON the war. The mistake was that Bush
    and the advocates for "war" wanted more than
    a military victory.

    So, Mr Rauch, you have learned nothing.

  • ||

    "Donald Rumsfeld was the man whose plan had worked like a charm in Afghanistan."

    Huh? And again, huh? Did we catch Bin Laden when I wasn't looking. Have we killed, captured or tamed a substantial portion of the Taliban?

    Last time I checked we've managed to push the Taliban to rural areas and install a central government in Afghanistan that barely survives with us continually propping it up. Meanwhile many of the Taliban have crossed the border from Afghanistan to Pakistan and their doing a fine job of helping to destabilize that nuclear-armed country.

  • ||

    Sorry, their = they're

  • smoker with no kids||

    Jonathan Rauch

    So what your saying is, if you support the war, it will be a problem. If you oppose the war it should go well. How do you feel about war with Iran?

  • ||

    Oh, this *is* hilarious.

    The war (appears to be) going badly, everyone hates it.

    Now Bush is winning, maybe the war was okay but Bush was bad.

    In ten years, everyone will *know* Bush was great, and wonder who the hell it was that thought he was bad.

    Just like Reagan. Oh, and Truman. And Lincoln.

    (signed) Old Fart Who Saw It Bfore

  • ||

    I am sorry. I made a mistake five years ago. But not about the vote. About the leader.

    What a heapin' helpin' of fatuous flapdoodle.

  • ||

    Now Bush is winning, maybe the war was okay but Bush was bad.

    ?

    Did I miss the Al Queda surrender ceremony?

  • smoker with no kids||

    "Just like Reagan. Oh, and Truman. And Lincoln."

    And Johnson.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Wasn't it the CIA's plan in Afghanistan?

  • Syloson of Samos||

    In fact, I think that is right.

  • ||

    What a heapin' helpin' of fatuous flapdoodle.

    Indeed. God himself could not have got the Iraq War right, because it was a terrible idea. We invaded a country that to us posed a very minor, hypothetical threat. A full-scale military invasion was the wrong tool with which to address the problem of Iraq--kind of like opening a beer can with a steam shovel.

    Right war, wrong leader--what a crock of nothing, Rauch. I challenge you to name one human, living or dead, who would have successfully bombed Iraq into enlightenment, and without stoking the resolve of terrorist organizations worldwide.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Cool, I'm an anarchist! That explains why I always got a gleam in my eye when I read the Loompanics catalog.

  • Sam Grove||

    I do not regret giving the president authority; I regret giving this president authority. I am sorry. I made a mistake five years ago. But not about the vote. About the leader.

    But they are one and the same. The policy established by the constitution is that the president should not have the power to declare war.

    Rauch wants to eat his cake and have it too.
    Giving the president the authority meant giving this president the authority.

    This is the whole point of moral principles. We do not assume that angels will be occupying the halls of power, but rather, fallible humans, hence we establish policy to limit their power over others.

    I hope Rauch doesn't call himself 'libertarian'. I might have to find another label.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    Not even the guys at CATO thought thought that going to Iraq was a good idea.

    I say "not even" because sometimes the guys at CATO, while strong libertarians they are, keep their mouths shut on some topics until the smoke clears a bit.

    BTR

  • Sam Grove||

    Mr. Nice Guy

    You know, that line always reminds me of people of an ideological stripe who often say "Free markets will work, it just hasn't been done right yet."

    Or it's popular cousin where someone says in response to any problem in a market society (the Depression, the uninsured, etc.) that it was just the "mixed" nature of our market that made the problem. The market never, ever does anything less than perfect.


    http://cafehayek.typepad.com/hayek/2007/10/the-essence-of-.html#comments

  • Dr. Rene Belloq||

    "like opening a beer can with a steam shovel. "

    you would use a steam shovel to find a china cup...

  • ||

    I second Aresen's ?.

    Then again, maybe I missed a couple stories about painted schools. Then again, there is a lot less ethnic cleansing the areas that have already been ethnically cleansed. So, there's that.

    S.o.S.,

    Wasn't it the CIA's plan in Afghanistan? Yes. That's what George Tenant got the Medal of Freedom for - NOT the intel work before the Iraq War.

  • mnuez||

    I've long been of the opinion that, for a host of reasons, invading Iraq would be a good idea. I've almost equally long been of the opinion that with George Bush as President it was the WRONG thing to do.

    Bush is not fit to serve his country as a librarian, never mind as Commander In Chief.

    And if you aren't going to wage a war correctly it's far far far better not to wage it AT ALL.

    Cheers,

    mnuez
    www.mnuez.blogspot.com

  • ||

    Bush is not fit to serve his country as a librarian, never mind as Commander In Chief.

    Wrong, Laura has already displayed her librarian competence. Oh, you said his counrty, not hers. Never Mind.

  • Matthew Ridgway||

    How many times must it be said ?

    NEVER START A LAND WAR IN ASIA !

  • ||

    Here is an account of some action to "kill insurgents" in Iraq:

    "Lt. William T. Kallop had ordered a patrol "to 'clear' an Iraqi home after a roadside bomb had killed a Marine" earlier in the day. Later, after the firefight he went to inspect the home and discovered that no insurgents, but only innocent civilians had been killed.

    "He and found women, children and older men who had been killed when marines threw a grenade into the room. Lt. Kallop would not have been shocked if there had been one or more insurgents among the dead. What made the situation problematic was that all the fatalities were clearly civilians, and it led to the possibility that they had not been in hot pursuit of an enemy combatant.

    Later, however, Lt. Kallop decided that even this situation involved no misbehavior on the part of his troops, after questioning Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, who had led the patrol and commanded the military action:
    "Sergeant Wuterich had told him that they had killed people after approaching a door to it and hearing the distinct metallic sound of an AK-47 being prepared to fire. "'I thought that was within the rules of engagement because the squad leader thought that he was about to kick in the door and walk into a machine gun,' Lieutenant Kallop said." According to Kallop, the soldiers were thus following the rules of engagement because if the squad leader "thought" that he was going to be attacked (based on recognizing a noise through a closed door), he was authorized and justified to use the full lethal force of the patrol (in this case a hand grenade), enough to kill all the people huddled within the apartment.

    First Lieutenant Max D. Frank, sent to investigate the incident somewhat later, explained this logic: "It was unfortunate what happened, sir," Lieutenant Frank told the Marine prosecutor, Lt. Col. Sean Sullivan, "but I didn't have any reason to believe that what they had done was on purpose."
    Translated, this means that as long as the soldiers sincerely believed that their attack might capture or kill an armed insurgent who could attack them, the rules of engagement justified their action and they were therefore not culpable of any crime.
    . The soldiers could have decided that there was a good chance of hurting civilians in this situation, and therefore retreated without pursuing the suspected insurgent. This would have allowed him to get away, but it would have protected the residents of the house. This option was not considered, even though many of us might feel that letting one or two or three insurgents escape (in a town filled with insurgents) might be acceptable instead of risking (and ultimately ending) the lives of 19 civilians.
    Major General Richard Huck, the commanding officer in charge of the Marines in thatarea underscored these rules of engagement in more general terms, - and also ignored the unthinkable option of letting the insurgents get away - when he explained why he had not ordered an investigation of the deaths:
    "They had occurred during a combat operation and it was not uncommon for civilians to die in such circumstances. 'In my mind's eye, I saw insurgent fire, I saw Kilo Company fire,' Huck testified, via video link from the Pentagon, where he is assistant deputy commandant for plans, policies and operations. 'I could see how 15 neutrals in those circumstances could be killed.'"

    So, basically, our rules of engagement are, if there is any doubt, use overwhelming force and take out as many civilians as you need to in order to insure your own protection. Great way to bring democracy to another country.

  • ||

    a said: "Jesus, Rauch is embarrassing. What does this have to do with "free minds and free markets"?"

    Free minds means that sometimes you have to listen or read from people that you don't agree with. That's what reason is about.

  • Kroneborge||

    Ahh, Mr. Gray. I'm quite sure that if you were in that situation, approaching a suspected insurgent hiding place, and then hearing sounds of someone prepping to fire, you would have not been proactive but instead offered your life up as a sacrifice to the gods of engagement tactics just to make sure. What bull shit.

    People in those types of situations will take whatever appropriate actions they feel is necessary to protect themselves first. And I'm sure that if you were in such a situation you would do the same, except your punk ass probably never served in the military did you. Sure it's easy to Monday night quarter back, but IMO in the absence of malicious intent we give OUR soldiers the benefit of the doubt.

  • GILMORE||

    UCrawford | October 19, 2007, 11:10am | #

    UCrawford gets it right.

    What many 'disagreed' with before the war was the 'No BLOOD FOR OIL!!' BS, which was NOT the best reason for opposition... the best reasons for opposition were the ones you mention, plus many others regarding regional stability and "is this really going to kill 'terrorists', or invent a whole new crop of them?'

    ...and many more. While I can understand some people jusifying the invasion in 2003, by now so much is known about what WAS known (re: WMDs) that trying to justify this as 'the right war' in retrospect is entirely self-serving

  • Mike Laursen||

    Gray's comment may be taken as commentary about our military not following the rules of engagement, in which case your reply is appropriate, I suppose.

    But Gray's comment may be taken as a commentary on why our troops were put in that situation in the first place, and what we were hoping to accomplish. Your reply didn't address this bigger picture.

  • ||

    Well played, Mr Rauch, throwing Bush under the bus and switching from fellating him to cunnilingizing Slick Hillary, all in one fell swoop. I expect to see a lot of hawks doing this in the coming months; such people always have to bow before a Strong Leader.

    Also of interest is the fact that joe is reorienting his position on wars of election to coincide with his party's likely presidential nominee, and swallowing whole her ridiculous rationalization for her AUMF vote. All this talk about international law and such needs to be hushed if a Dem president acts on the itch to invade the Sudan -- er, send US troops to protect the hopes of the oppressed in Darfur.

  • ||

    And that's why I don't get too excited about the fact that it wasn't technically a 'declaration of war' (as required by the Constitution), since it was unquestionably the moral equivalent of a declaration of war.

    Ah, but apparently it is questionable. Mrs. Clinton is questioning it by saying she didn't vote for a war, and a lot of people are buying that.

    See, it would be much harder for politicians to say that they weren't voting for war when they voted for a declaration of war. Not that Hillary wouldn't try...

  • ||

  • ||

  • ||

  • ||

  • ||

  • ||

  • http://||

  • http://||

  • http://||

  • http://||

  • http://||

  • http://||

  • http://||

  • http://||

  • ||

    OIL INCENTIVES AND WAR

    There's nothing like a nation scorned by others meddling with its access to oil. The essential trigger of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 arose from an oil embargo imposed on Japan by the U.S. for atrocities committed by Japan.

    In Desert Shield, the first Iraq War in the early '90s, Saddam Hussein tried to raise oil price and cut production which upset his Arab neighbors who stepped in to prevent it.

    Saddam went ballistic. He wanted to pay off the huge debt incurred from the recent war with Iran and now he could not do it. He was angry enough to invade Kuwait and solve the problem that way.

    In 2000, Saddam upset the U.S. in the Oil-for-Food program by switching from taking dollars to taking Euros for oil.

    Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the OPEC cartel agreed to keep output high and prices low, then afterwards it went back to high prices and restricted output.

    Greg Palast of BBC discovered clear evidence that shortly after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, attempts to privatize the oil by turning it over to the Iraqis alarmed the U.S. oil industry who put a stop to it. The additional output would have resulted in substantial declines in the price of oil.

    Before the 2003 Iraq war, oil price was intentionally reduced to support its consumption as part of the war as well as deter fears and expectations that oil prices would increase due to the war.

    After the war was well underway, oil prices were allowed to rise as output was restricted because no one could reverse the move - it was too late.

    The U.S. oil industry profits greatly when OPEC raises oil prices. OPEC is their friend.

  • Free Markets||

    Bary payne: with all of the competition, environmentalist restriction, and the ammount of demand for, as well as the lack of refineries, could you the economist please elaborate on how the price of oil can be "controlled". Also explain why it is cheaper in Venezuala and the Arab world, but more expensive in UK, and the EU. I suppose you actually believe the dribble that you write, you will tell me that economics has nothing to do with the price that Bush, the boogieman, the ragheads, the Oil Tycoons, and all them are in a conspiracy to make war in Iraq for oil, when we could just drill for it in Alaska or the Gulf of Mexico.

  • ||

    Oh and Bary: Dessert Shiled was a response to Iraq invading Kuwait, not our fault. Saddam did it because he was an asshole that couldn't learn to stay away from war after the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980's. Read a history book, or an economics book and learn to remember and think on these things.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_Kuwait

  • Minion of URKOBOLD||

    HIER IS THE ONLY EKONOMIKS "FREE MARKET" WOULD ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND.

  • ||

    I haven't changed my position on elective war one whit in the past five years, crimethink. Why would I, when the past five years have been an uninterrupted parade of vindication for those beliefs.

    Nor did I say I believed Clinton voted for the AUMF while not supporting the invasion. She did support the invasion - she was one of the Democrats actively calling for it, before the AUMF vote.

    I mentioned her explaination of why she doesn't consider that vote a mistake as illustrative of her position on executive authority.

    She supported the war AND granting the president the authority to take us to war on his own - as opposed to John Kerry, for example, who opposed the former but supported the latter. Now, like Joe Biden, she has changed her position on the war, but continues to believe that the decision to start a war like that should still lie with the White House.

  • ||

    I've been thinking about this, and I don't think you can argue that Hillary Clinton's presidency would represent a continuation of Bush's policies, and be against the war.

    In 2001, our policy towards Iraq was fourfold: we stationed forces in the region to contain the military threat; we provided a security guarantee to the Kurds; we carried out sneaky counter-terror operations in lawless areas as necessary; and we pursued the rise of a pro-American, democratic politics there through non-military means.

    In 2003, we made what is universally acknowledged as a massive change in policy. We send hundreds of thousands of troops to defeat hostile military forces Iraq; we took over the country; we took on the role of providing security; and we set up a pro-American client government, which we used our military might to prop up. People like me, who were against the war, considered this change of policy to be a foolish, monstrous calamity. Considering the move from our previous policy to our current one to be such a disaster is pretty much the definition of opposing the war.

    And now we see Hillary Clinton proposing to change our policy to one of ending our role as occupiers and security forces in Iraqi communities. Rather than continuing to fight against the hostile armed factions in Iraq, she proposes to work towards a political deal with them. She wants to reduce the role of our military in Iraq to that of containing the threats it now poses and conducing counter-terror operations. In very concrete terms, she has proposed to immediately begin to withdraw forces, and to leave at most a force that is a small fraction - on the order of 5-10% - of the forces there now, with these remaining forces abandoning almost all of the activities being conducted under Bush's policy.

    In other words, it represents something very close to a reversion to our pre-Operation Iraqi Freedom Iraq policy, in both scope and character, though adapted to a different set of circumstances.

    I do not see how a person can claim to be agains the war - that is, to consider the President's decision to toss out our old Iraq policy and replace it with the Great NeoCon Crusade to have been a terrible, deplorable act - and then turn around and say that reverting back to, or at least towards, something like our previous policy amounts to a seamless continuation of George Bush's Iraq policy.

    It's a Big Lie, being told by people who have a political interest in blurring the sharp divisions that exist between the two major parties over the future of our Iraq policy.

  • ||

    Oh, and she has also sponsored and voted for legislation forbidding the use of tax dollars to build permanent bases for our troops in Iraq.

    On the question of whether someone wants to stay or go, that's where the rubber meets the road - are they preparing for our troops to stay there, or not?

  • Mark Bahner||

    I suppose this article has value in trying to understand why otherwise sane people were supportive of the Iraq occupation.



    If you look at Iraq's rankings for political and civil liberties freedoms by Freedom House, or Iraq's rankings for economic freedom (by a group including the Heritage Foundation) you'll see that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was at or near the very bottom for *all* those freedoms. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out how people interested in freedom would hope for more for the people of Iraq.

  • ||

    Free minds means that sometimes you have to listen or read from people that you don't agree with. That's what reason is about.

    OK, then it would be perfectly logical for Reason to run articles promoting the War on Drugs, or the Defense of Marriage Act, or other statist bullshit. Why won't Reason "free its mind" on those issues?

  • ||

    The one service Bush did accomplish (and it is the only one) was to "out" most Libertarians as Neocons. It's just embarrassing for crying out loud. Did you even watch say the Gore or the Kerry debate. Bush was an out and out idiot. His only track record was being bailed out ... even his decision to quit drinking was in hindsight a grave error. Idiots do idiotic things. Religious idiots are even worse. How could one have not seen this? Don't elect idiots Mr. Neocon journalist dude. Duh.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement