After Iraq


For those of us who opposed this war, it's not easy to speak constructively right now. Protests feel useless, while consent would be forced and unreal. We can hope, helplessly, for a swift end to the conflict, with as few deaths as possible and a pink slip for Saddam Hussein. But beyond that, what can we do?

Somehow, the impeccably dovish Gene Healy is already composing good answers to the question, "Now that we're in this war, what next?" I don't expect this administration to pay even lip service to his suggestions, but if it's suddenly struck with a bolt of sanity, it will.

NEXT: Move Over, Beetle Bailey

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  1. Lefty:

    Are you EVER going to get it? Probably not, huh? It ALL about Bush for you. Saddam’s a great guy. Loves everybody. Been complying with UN resolutions for 12 years. shit, we just trumped all this up to get rid of him for cheap oil. right?

    Get a grip.

  2. Lefty’s ideal president:
    “Look at me, I’m making people HAPPY, I’m the Magical Man from Happy Land, who lives in a gumdrop house on Lollipop L-a-a-a-ane…”

    In case you didnt notice I was being sarcastic.

  3. LL,
    Well, duuuuh!

  4. Casey,

    You’re likely right that more factors contribute to radical Islam’s agenda against the west other than just the ones that Healy cites. But just because Healy’s list isn’t exhaustive doesn’t mean the factors he cites aren’t real and relevant. Furthermore, they are factors we can control, unlike the factors you cite.

    The big problem as I see it is the one that terrorism always creates. How do you address the concerns of your adversaries without appearing to be capitulating to terror???

  5. When you’ve written a half-dozen different replies, and erased them all, that’s pretty much the definition of “speechless”, huh?

    When can we start the War on Hypocrisy?

  6. >>How do you address the concerns of your adversaries without appearing to be capitulating to terror???

  7. How do you address the concerns of your adversaries without appearing to be capitulating to terror???

    You say to hell with addressing the concerns of your adversaries, and do what’s right simply because it’s right. You then actually talk to your subjects–uh, citizens as though they’re actual intelligent human beings, explaining precisely why troops need to leave Saudi Arabia and all the rest.

    But that would undoubtedly encourage far too much critical thinking among the people. Can’t have that.

  8. My anti-war protest cry is;
    “Regime change begins at home”

    Works even better in the post war environment. Bush Jr. will be hung out to dry in the next election just like his old man, and for the same reason. Riding high in the polls now from his “big penis” foreign policy means taking the heat a year from now when the bills come due and the Mid-East remains as scary as ever, only now WE’RE the one’s responsible.

    Unfortunately the Dem. that defeats him will just be another establishment asshole ala Clinton.

    BTW, although the empty-headed, bleeding-heart, tree hugging pinkos that filled the anti-war ranks have been the bane of my existence for the past 30 years. I don’t find them half as scary as the blood-thirsty, hate-mongering, US-imperialist thugs on the pro-war side of the street.

  9. Robert Hutchinson,

    “to hell with addressing the concerns of your adversaries”

    Good idea.

    You realize that we live in a republican democracy, don’t you? You won’t be able to “do the right thing” or anything at all (on the scale of war/peace decisions) without “addressing the concerns of your opponents,” provided your opponents are in the current governing majority.

  10. With the exception of the overly simplistic and one-sided plan for handling the Israeli problem, Healy’s post-war plan sounds indistinguishable from that found on most warblogs.

  11. JDM: I believe Hutchinson was referring to our terrorist adversaries.

  12. The War On Terror will be all but solved if the aforementioned targets are met. Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Quaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Iraq and Iran formed a loose alliance a couple of years ago pre 9/11 which was widely reported at the time but seems to have been forgotten now. However if we win the real battle for the hearts and minds of the people of the rest of the mid-east. If we have their support then the quite terrorfying prospect of dealing with all these groups can be avoided.

  13. “Oh, woe is me! We actually started shooting. Oh, poor me. I couldn’t stop the war.”

    Now, Kiss My Ass. Grow the F*** up and deal with it. Saddam is a bad person. 12 years of inspection didn’t work. He’s firing the SCUD missiles the inspectors say he didn’t have. Proof…not really. Evidence…yeah.

    Get over it.

  14. I really feel bad for the anti-war crowd. Though I feel that THIS war was necessary and reasonable, the next may not be. It would be helpful to have a meaningful opposition, afterall I could be wrong.

    The anti-war crowd burned a lot of bridges with their unprincipaled tactics. Marching with Stalinists, blaming the War on Jews, calling the US a “fascist state” and comparing Bush as Hitler…even advocating for US soldiers to be killed in action (I am talking to YOU Ted Rall – borderline treason you piece of shit).

    A lot of libertarians chose to go nut-ball ( crowd) and I found I couldn’t tell the difference anymore between libertarian anti-war rhetoric and communist. A lot of damage was done to libertarian ideas and I hope the anti-war libertarians learn their lessons and pick better allies in the future.

    (FYI – I don’t place Jesse and many other libertarians in the nutball crowd as they presented many reasonable arguments. But sadly most everyone else will — just like what happend to the Old Right when they resisted WW2 by siding with pro-Hitler anti-semites)

  15. I really don’t know how to feel anymore, for the past 6 months I’ve been fiercly anti-war, but the more I get to know other people that are against the war, the more apparent it is that the movement is full of crap, and people arent even trying, like its just for recreation. I actually heard a guy say, “I’m glad, our parents had Vietnam, and now we have somthing.” Like this is a great thing.
    Others I have talked to in recent weeks have given me the impression that if we do war, they want it to be long and full of US causulties, so they can have even more time and reason to “protest.” And then they can prove everybody “wrong.”
    Now that the war is on, I personally dont really care how it ends, (The US beating Iraq, or the US quitting early) as long as it ends as quikly as possible with the least number of deaths.
    I just feel really dissapointed to have learnt how stupid everyone was.

  16. heather:

    Welcome to the real world.

  17. Warren-

    Right on.


  18. Actually, Steve, rather than SCUDs, it seems the Iraqis fired Al Samud missiles. You know the ones. They are the ones that were being destroyed before the U.S. told U.N. inspectors to get out of Dodge. That seems a rather good reason to have given the inspectors more time.

  19. Steve-
    I actually turn 18 today.

  20. FH. My take would be that, if they really intended to disarm, the Al Samoods would be gone a long time ago. Seems to me that 12 years is plenty of time.

    Heather, Happy Birthday. Two little bits of birthday wisdom: Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. Anyone who isn’t a Liberal at 18 has no heart. Anyone who doesn’t make the transition to conservative by 30 has no brain.

  21. To hear where the anti-war movement went wrong, listen to this radio excerpt:

    It is truly astounding that this woman (girl?) could not come up with one plausible alternative to war without resorting to platitudes about how peace is better.

  22. I think there’s been plenty of platitudinous idiocy on both sides of this debate. If you refuse to join a movement because of its fools, there won’t be any movements left to join.

  23. Point taken. I just think that the pro-war fools are less dangerous than the anti-war fools in the very short run. When they start getting twitchy over a whole new set of dangers, I’ll reconsider.

  24. Steve, attribute your quote, please. 🙂 I believe that was Churchill.

    I see the trolls are still in force around here, both pro-, and anti-war. It would be nice if we saw some more rational maturity from both sides. Pity.

    Anyway: Jesse I really can’t agree with you that Healy has “good answers” when his basic theorems are wrong.
    He claims “There is no doubt that three elements of US foreign policy have contributed greatly to the terrorist threat: (1) troops in Saudi Arabia; (2) sanctions and the slow-motion war on Iraq; and (3) US aid to Israel.”

    This completely ignores problems such as Arab resentment of Western cultural wealth, success, and domination on a global scale.

    He also falls into the trap of many shallow thinkers who seem to think that Arabs are a monolithic block who react in exactly the same manner to the same stimuli. In this case, it’s all Israel’s fault. Apparently everything wrong in the Mid-East is caused by the Jewish state. Or our support for that state. Yeah…

    There’s a similar problem with #1: troops in Saudi Arabia. Apparently Mr. Healy has no problem with the simplistic idea that thousands of people have been killed because few (c. 5,000 or so) American troops -as requested by the Saudis themselves- are stationed there. I suppose the very sight of American desert cammo is enough to send the typical Arab into a murderous, suicidal rage.

    I don’t suppose it occured to him that motivations to join a terror group would involve depression because your culture in stuck in a thousand year old slump of its own making, the despised infidel are richer than any Muslim country in the world, and that the very conditions that fueled depotism in these countries (such as domination of civil authority by religious authority, massive kleptocracy, no tradition of honest courts or law enforcement, no scientific or technical progress due to religious conflicts) prevent them from getting any better?

    I don’t suppose it occured to him that its always easier to blame someone else for one’s own problems? He’s never seen that happen before? So perhaps he doesn’t understand that it’s easier for terror groups to blame the US (or the Jews, apparently viewed as the same thing in some circles) on their problems than to admit that there are fundamental flaws in Arab society that have prevented the Mid-East countries from becoming prosperous? That the only exception is democratic, Western-oriented, Non-Arabic Israel? Please note I don’t count the oil-rich nations to be -strictly speaking- prosperous. That is less a reflection of Arab ability to generate wealth than a reflection that they picked up the geophysical equivalent of a winning lottery ticket.

    I therefore conclude that his ideas are based on severely flawed premises and suffer from poor reasoning. A quote from a response on his website illustrates the inability of many libertarians to grasp the problem:
    “Excellent post. The best that principled libertarians can do is continue to make the case for limited governments, free markets, and peace. Ideas have consequences – lets just hope that the neocon ideas don’t cost us too much in blood and treasure.”

    At the risk of sounding a touch sarcastic: ideas have consequences? Thanks for the news flash! I would love to hear how the writer (Rebecca) suggest the Mid-East GET limited governments, free markets, and peace? By incantation? By UN intervention?

    I can’t recall who, now, but right after 9/11 one columnist observed that Libertarianism has no idealogical framework to deal with international -as opposed to intranational- questions. In other words, how should a Libertarian government approach a totalitarian regime with a vested interest in repression?

  25. Being an anti-war libertarian is not inconsistent with: 1) having contempt for other “anti-warriors” whose motivation is clearly a visceral and irrational hatred of Bush and/or all things American, or 2) wishing our troops well, and hoping for a swift and decisive victory in this conflict.

    I don’t see why this is difficult for anyone.

  26. Casey,

    All of the reasons for the terrorists’ hate that you list are ideological, or at least politcally (mis?)informed. Most people are not born as ideologues, but become radicalized by what they see, and need to find answers for. Do you really want to take the position that America’s actions have no influence on what people think about us? That news footage of the IDF and settlers attacking Arab villages doesn’t have an impact on the Muslim viewer? That the impoverishment and repeated bombing of a country by a distant power, and the harm caused to its residents, doesn’t engender feelings of anger and injustice?

  27. Heather,
    Happy Birthday now go buy yourself a pack of smokes and a Lotto ticket, heh. I feel the same way you do. In fact, I see it going on right now. a bunch of “war protestors” are doing nothing except block traffic and divert emergency personnel from important duties. I opposed the war because of the “legit” concerns, rather than the idiotic anti-American/Bush protestors. I try not to have my views swayed by the people who share them, but these guys are testing my will there.

    Right now, I’m crossing my fingers for all our troops and innocent Iraqi citizens and I’m fuming at all the people who treat this war like it’s a goddamn pageant (including the media) instead of real people with lives on the line.

  28. The anti-war crowd is going to be sorely disappointed after Iraq. The future likely offers only more war. The current strategy is to eliminate the possibility of terrorists getting their hands on nuclear weapons. That goal isn’t directly furthered by attacking Iraq. Iraq is simply the weakest state sponsor of terrorism out there, and the American people could be talked into invading it. The hope is that Kim Jong Il and the Iranians will be easier to talk into giving up nukes if the US seems serious about it. I suppose that’s possible, but I’m not holding my breath.

  29. If this were a just action Bush wouldn’t have to lie about it and there would be little debate about why we’re doing it.

  30. it does feel pretty useless. then again the whole damn political process at anytime is pretty useless. the gorilla will do what it wanta, when it wants, opinion of the people reguardless…it’ll just make something up about “patriotism” and “justice” and “freedom” and once enough drones are gathered, resistance is pretty much futile.

    I might hijack a rocket and head off to the dark side of pluto, anyone else wanna come?

    *removes american flag from wall, folds it properly, and stoes it in the rocket*

    I’ll keep it in case it becomes worthy of being flown again.


  32. As a vet of this and DS and Army Guard Memeber, let’s remember certain truths if there are any to be found. First we are in the middle of an idealogical war as different from trench warefare in WWI to the Cold War, and all other wars in the last century. This is a new world war, this war is not about the traditional things or even resources, if it were about only oil we would all stop driving for a day, turn off the lights for an hour and make up half the short fall. We and our Euro and Asian brothers and sisters as well as every nation dealing with the “new tech” world would adjust. No, this war is different, because they are willing to kill their men woman and children to further that interest. What is that interest? It’s not about territory because they claim no country, it’s not about religion because they kill Muslims as easy as Jews, it’s not about money because they recieve billions from different groups. Perhaps it’s just about killing, just for the sake of killing, much like Hitler and the Romans in biblical times, much like the Serbs and Croates, cowboys and Indians, blacks and whites. This is a war that if not confronted now will be back here to rear it’s ugly head in my back yard. Can’t hide from it and it won’t go away, killing feels good to this group a form of feeling of power, to control, to instill fear. No I recently turned in another request to return to Iraq not because I want to leave my family which I love, a job that I love a home I love. I volunteered because I want my family to know I will fight for them in their backyard not mine or yours until we sort out the real reason for the hate and killing. Until then all of on this network can express ourselves with out the Taliban overlords looking at us, without living in world where only one religious view is tolorated, where I have choosen this path of my own volition and to die if necessary for a country I love.

  33. OOOh. hello. sausage sausage bum-bum.

  34. OOOh. hello. sausage sausage bum-bum.

  35. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/20/2004 10:49:36
    Morality by consensus is frequently morality by convenience.

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