Foreign Policy

Reflecting on the Iraq War

It's too early to know history's verdict.

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As the United States' combat mission in Iraq draws to a close, it is fitting to look back on the war and its legacy so far. In most left-of-center commentary, the folly and criminality of the war in Iraq is now an article of faith, and anyone who ever supported it has a black mark against him. Yet, as someone ambivalently pro-war in 2003, I remain unrepentantly ambivalent and far from certain about history's eventual verdict. Ironically, President Obama's August 31 Oval Office speech marking the war's official end reflects nothing if not ambivalence, Obama's early anti-war stance notwithstanding.

Some facts are undeniable: the weapons of mass destruction of which Saddam Hussein's alleged possession was the ostensible reason for the invasion never turned up. It is also fairly clear that, in the buildup to the war, the Bush White House disregarded evidence that did not fit its casus belli—though it is a far cry from that to the charge that Bush deliberately "lied," and the belief that the Saddam Hussein regime was hiding WMDs was widely shared among Democrats.

Few would also dispute the conclusion that the war and the occupation were badly mismanaged from the start, due in large part to the previous administration's arrogance and incompetence—with tragic results for far too many U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

But what if we had not gone to war? David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, argues in a recent column in The National Post, a Canadian daily, that a Saddam Hussein regime left intact in 2003 would have become far more dangerous due to new wealth from rising oil prices and the probable collapse of sanctions—and would have eventually ended in a violent downfall with massive casualties from sectarian battles. Such suggestions are easy to dismiss as speculation intended to justify the war in hindsight. Yet the truth is that what-ifs stressing the benefits of not going to war can be just as speculative. It is far from certain that if we had not sent troops to Iraq, our forces would have been more successful in Afghanistan or would have captured Osama Bin Laden.

President Obama's speech, as one might expect, stressed the costs—human, social, political, and economic—of going into Iraq. Yet he also spoke in surprisingly positive terms about many aspects of the U.S. mission.

He noted that American troops in Iraq "defeated a regime that had terrorized its people" and, "together with Iraqis and coalition partners who made huge sacrifices of their own fought block by block to help Iraq seize the chance for a better future." He asserted that "because of our troops and civilians—and because of the resilience of the Iraqi people—Iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny, even though many challenges remain." He praised the successes of Iraqi elections and emphasized "our long-term partnership with Iraq, one based upon mutual interests and mutual respect."

This must be a bitter pill to swallow for many of Obama's supporters—those who regard the war as an American atrocity against Iraqis (often characterized in left-wing venues in starkly racial terms, as the slaughter of "brown people"). Such a view is now fairly standard on the left: at the height of the controversy of the "Ground Zero mosque," a satirical piece by a Salon.com blogger noted that if an enemy attack that kills thousands of innocents creates a "sacred ground," then the Iraqis should be grateful to the United States for giving them "hundreds of such sites." To people with that mindset, Obama's praise for the American role in Iraq must sound like monstrous hypocrisy—literally adding insult to fatal injury. Never mind that most of the deaths were at the insurgents' hands.

It would be absurd to claim that the war in Iraq was a human rights triumph. Salon.com's Joe Conason has a point when he notes that shocking cases of detainee abuse in Iraq have compromised our moral standing. To take on the role of an occupying force places the military in an extremely tough quandary: being too aggressive in dealing with the local population creates the risk of backlash and resentment; not being aggressive enough creates the risk of a anarchy, causing resentment toward the troops for failing to protect the population. U.S. troops have faced Iraqi anger and disappointment for both reasons.

Despite all these problems, polls conducted in Iraq since the war began have shown a complex picture that does not fit into the left-wing narrative of the war any more than it does into a pro-war script of U.S. soldiers being greeted as liberators. Survey after survey has showed Iraqis more or less evenly split on whether the 2003 invasion was right or wrong. (In a 2009 survey, only 28 percent said that it was "absolutely wrong.") This is a remarkable fact considering than it is a natural human instinct to strongly oppose the invasion of one's country by another power—particularly one with a different culture and a different majority religion—and that the respondents included people who held privileged positions under the Saddam Hussein regime. When the question is phrased differently, between 60 and 75 percent of Iraqis have agreed that Saddam's ouster was worth it despite the hardship. Only a quarter prefer the way things were in prewar Iraq.

Do these findings give us a mandate to depose oppressive regimes everywhere? Of course not. They do, however, put our actions in perspective. Whether or not Operation Iraqi Freedom was a blunder, only time will tell—as even some strong critics of the war, such as former Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean, concede. But it is not too early to say that Americans are not the villains in this story. That role belongs to the dictator who drove so many of his subjects to welcome a foreign invasion, and to the extremists who unleashed carnage on their own.

Cathy Young writes a weekly column for RealClearPolitics and is also a contributing editor at Reason magazine. She blogs at cathyyoung.wordpress.com. This article originally appeared at RealClearPolitics.

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  1. I think that this is the most even-handed column on Iraq that Reason has run.

  2. the weapons of mass destruction of which Saddam Hussein’s alleged possession was the ostensible reason for the invasion

    Was it? Or was it the fact that the French and Germans were buying all the Iraqi oil they could for a peanut butter sandwich and a diet coke?

    The fact is, the invasion of Iraq and the removal and execution of Sadaam caused a fundamental shift in power in the entire Middle East. A shift of power that we are now directly responsible for.

    1. “””A shift of power that we are now directly responsible for.”‘

      Who is this “we” you are talking about?

      1. A shift of power that we are the US government is now directly responsible for.

        Better?

        1. No, because the US government is broke and any liability it has is going to be transferred to the taxpayers and the citizens of the US and that includes me.

          1. Never underestimate the ability of the Federal Reserve to print money. The US isn’t quite broke, yet. First, the dollar will lose its reserve currency status. Second, there will be galloping inflation. Third, the US will have to spend all of its gold reserves, if there really are any. Then, the US will be broke.

            1. First, the dollar will lose its reserve currency status.

              That doesn’t mean a lot since currencies are fungible. We’ll lose that status eventually, but not for a single country’s fiat money. Maybe regional reserve currencies will pop up or a global basket index, heck maybe just plain old gold. Who knows.

              Sure we’re broke/fucked, but only as broke/fucked as every other country with a central bank.

            2. Printing lots and lots of money is a GOOD thing!

    2. You need to look up the word “ostensible.”

      1. No, I need a little better riddin comprension.

  3. The only thing missing from this article (and I agree with Richard, this by far the most even handed Iraq article I’ve seen at Reason) is any reference to what the congressionally approved AUMF listed in terms of Saddams support for international Islamic terrorist groups like Abu Nidal, etc. You can whine about the WMD’s and I’ll agree that they blew it on that point, but that was one of many among our reasons to remove Saddam. People seem to forget that Saddam and the ISS was DEEPLY involved with a wide variety of Islamic terrorist groups dating back to the first WTC attack. (www.husseinandterror.com) He was also still attempting to exterminate the Kurds and brutally repressing the Shiites in Iraq. All of these issues were mentioned in the AUMF, and yet they get glosssed over in our hurry to whine about the WMD’s.

    It’s getting tiresome.

    1. If the Kurds and the Iraqis had a problem with Saddam then they should have taken care of it. As to other terrorists attacks they were minor and Saddam’s role was also minor, certainly not worth more then 3,000 dead and trillions in debt. The terrorist capital of the Middle East is Saudi Arabia but they have friends in Washington and so they get ignored.

      1. If the Kurds and the Iraqis had a problem with Saddam then they should have taken care of it.

        “Yeah. Stupid lazy Kurds. That’s not our problem! Just because Saddam had an iron fist around the country in a way that would make Castro jealous doesn’t mean they couldn’t have risen up. Eventually.”

        As to other terrorists attacks they were minor and Saddam’s role was also minor

        The first WTC attack had heavy Iraqi ISS involvement that was detailed by the FBI when they placed bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin on their most wanted list. Yasin was able to flee the US using stolen Kuwaiti passports that were provided by Iraqi intel, and he was sheltered (some say even employed) by Saddam after the attack. The only reason that attack was “minor” was because the building didn’t fall down. If it had we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation.

        The terrorist capital of the Middle East is Saudi Arabia

        Hebollah and Hamas fart in your general direction.

        1. As to the Kurds and the Iraqis it is their business to secure their own freedom, not the US responsibility to hand it to them. If you are so interested in Kurdish and Iraqi freedom then pack you bags and move there. Taking my freedom by putting the US at war and putting myself and my children into debt for Kurds and Iraqis is not the answer. Go waste your life and your money on the project if you think its such a good idea.

          Abdul Rahman Yasin was released by the FBI and when he was put on a terrorist list the Iraqi government offered to turn him over to the US

          “””Hebollah and Hamas fart in your general direction.”””

          No they don’t, they are Israel’s worry, not mine. The Saudis are the ones who have been the biggest attacker of Americans and as an American I worry about that.

          1. “As to the Kurds and the Iraqis it is their business to secure their own freedom, not the US responsibility to hand it to them.”

            So do you also send out a big fuck you to the vanquished Native Americans?

            1. I did not do anything to “vanquished Native Americans”. And where I grew up the “vanquished Native Americans were making a good bit of money on tax free gas and cigarettes and playing their ancient native games “poker”, “slots” and “roulette”.

              1. IOW, yes.

            2. So, in order to avenge the “Trail of Tears” and countless other injustices against Native Americans, China should bomb major US cities, cause the deaths of 100,000+ Americans (or maybe 10 times that to keep it proportional), not to mention get thousands of their own people killed and waste trillions of their own money?

              After all, from the Chinese perspective, the US is just a bunch of Marxless capitalists.

              1. No. I am saying that if DJF says that it was up to the Kurds to defend themselves from Saddam, then it must have been up to the Native Americans to defend themselves from their European invaders.

                That’s all. Nothing more

                1. It was their responsibility once we set out to push them out.

                  We had better shit than they and won.

                  Not justifying it morally, but it is what it is.

                2. They did defend themselves, and scalp frontier women and children. They waged war to defend themselves. They lost. For other civilizations in the future: trade furs for guns, not booze.

              2. They have every right to try, if they are so moved.

          2. If you are so interested in Kurdish and Iraqi freedom then pack you bags and move there.

            Funny, because I have tons of Kurdish friends here in Nashville, which has the largets per capita Kurdish population outside of Iraq. I may be a bit biased, but then a lot of people in the US were saying the same things about the Jews in 1936. I have never argued that we should invade countries to liberate their peoples, but if this is one of the potential outcomes of removing a hostile regime that has the potential to cause us serious harm then I’m absolutely for it.

            Abdul Rahman Yasin was released by the FBI and when he was put on a terrorist list the Iraqi government offered to turn him over to the US

            In order to turn over Yasin, Iraq wanted the US to sign something saying they had nothing to do with the first WTC attack, and we wouldn’t do that because the FBI didn’t believe this to be true. Yuor head in the sand attitude about Saddams involvement with Islamic terrorism is typical.

            No they don’t, they are Israel’s worry, not mine.

            There are hundreds of dead Marines who would disagree with you.

            1. “”””Funny, because I have tons of Kurdish friends here in Nashville, which has the largets per capita Kurdish population outside of Iraq.”””

              Good then you and your Kurdish friends can go back to Iraq and straighten things out if that is what is important to you. But since you are not in Iraq then it looks like that is not what is important to you and if its not important to you and your Kurdish friends then its not important enough to send the US military to do it for you.

              “‘Yuor head in the sand attitude about Saddams involvement with Islamic terrorism is typical.”””

              Your inflation of Saddams involvement with Islamic terrorism is typical, Saddam himself was a secular dictators not an Islamic. Your only connection is that the Abdul Rahman Yasin was Iraqi and he went back to Iraq after he was released by the FBI.

              As to the Marines, how about if the US idiot politicians had not put US Marines in the middle of a Lebanese civil war. If the US had put troops into the middle of any civil war then there is a good chance that they would be killed. Just like if other countries had sent troops into the middle of the US Civil War.

              Lesson learned, stay out of other peoples wars. If you personally want to get involved in other peoples wars then pack your bag and go do it.

              1. Those dead marines can thank the Gipper, thank you.

                BTW, this morning I watched parts of Brother and a Rat, 1940, with Eddie Albert, Pricilla Lane, Jane Wyman and yep, Ronnie. Boy, he was a dreadful actor.

                1. Correction, the title is Brother Rat and a Baby. Reagan plays the cardboard straight to Wayne Morris and Eddie Albert.

              2. Good then you and your Kurdish friends can go back to Iraq and straighten things out if that is what is important to you.

                I specifically stated above “I have never argued that we should invade countries to liberate their peoples”. So we agree on this. All I said was this was a positive consequence of our actions.

                Your inflation of Saddams involvement with Islamic terrorism is typical,

                http://www.husseinandterror.com/

                Saddams involvement with Islamic terrorism is not even close to being a disputable theory.

                Saddam himself was a secular dictators not an Islamic.

                Right. That’s why he wanted to build the biggest Mosque in the middle east, added the Islamic scimitar to the Iraqi flag and had a Koran written in his own blood. Saddam was no secular dictator. He was a dictator that used Islamic belief as an excuse for his strongman tactics.

                Your only connection is that the Abdul Rahman Yasin was Iraqi and he went back to Iraq after he was released by the FBI.

                Unequivocally false. Just because you won’t look at all the other evidence doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

                how about if the US idiot politicians had not put US Marines in the middle of a Lebanese civil war.

                I agree. But my point was that Hezbollah is not a “regional” problem. They are currently building networks with the assistance of Iran worldwide. There is evidence that they are active in Mexico. They were involved in a bomb attack in Argentina against a Jewish center. And most recently The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated two Venezuela-based supporters of Hizballah, Ghazi Nasr al Din and Fawzi Kan’an, along with two travel agencies owned and controlled by Kan’an.

                “It is extremely troubling to see the Government of Venezuela employing and providing safe harbor to Hizballah facilitators and fundraisers. We will continue to expose the global nature of Hizballah’s terrorist support network, and we call on responsible governments worldwide to disrupt and dismantle this activity,” said Adam J. Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

                Lesson learned, stay out of other peoples wars.

                Yeah, we should just build a bigger fence and say fuck the world, right?

                That’s realistic.

                1. Lesson learned, stay out of other peoples wars.

                  Yeah, we should just build a bigger fence and say fuck the world, right?

                  That’s realistic.

                  What? Build a fence?! You can’t do that!

                  Liberty dictates that I must wait until you offer violence before I can defend myself. Basically trusting my life on the hopes that your initial violence doesn’t kill me. We must wait until Iran actually nukes us, before we can even consider if it could happen, much less defend ourselves.

                  But I won’t offer up the city in which I live as a target, or anything.

                2. “Right. That’s why he wanted to build the biggest Mosque in the middle east, added the Islamic scimitar to the Iraqi flag and had a Koran written in his own blood. Saddam was no secular dictator. He was a dictator that used Islamic belief as an excuse for his strongman tactics.”

                  This is pure bullshit. Iraq, under Saddam, was one of the most secular countries in the middle east. Saddam himself smoked and drank (hardly the signs of a card carrying Islamic fundamentalist).

                  Blood is seen as unclean in Islam, which makes your reasoning that b/c he had the koran written in his own blood therefore he was an Islamist all the more laughable.

                  Saddam was a secular dictator who used religion to his own political benefit the same way Barack Obama used Rev. Wright’s church to his own political benefit…unless you’re going to accuse Obama of being a religious fundamentalist.

                  1. Let me also add that Christians under Saddam were safer (Ever hear of Tariq Aziz). Compare their situation then to what’s happened to them since the US invasion.

                    Under Saddam Christians lived in relative harmony with Muslims. Since the US invasion the Christian population has been all but pushed out of Iraq.

                  2. I said above “He was a dictator that used Islamic belief as an excuse for his strongman tactics.”

                    If you are making the argument that “christians were safer under Saddam” I suggest you read this-

                    http://www.assyrianchristians……rights.htm

                    1. “I said above “He was a dictator that used Islamic belief as an excuse for his strongman tactics.””

                      You disputed DJF’s claim that Saddam himself was a secular dictator when you said, “Right. That’s why he wanted to build the biggest Mosque in the middle east, added the Islamic scimitar to the Iraqi flag and had a Koran written in his own blood. Saddam was no secular dictator.”

                      Saddam WAS a secular dictator. He was also a socialist, something that Islamic fundamentalists (Bin Ladin for example) despised.

                      The link you provided regarding one Christian family’s experience in Iraq tells us nothing other than Saddam was a brute in general. It does nothing to dispute the fact that (relatively speaking) Christians under Saddam were not persecuted for being Christians the same way they’ve been since the US invasion. Tariq Aziz, a Christian, was Saddam’s right-hand man.

                    2. Saddam WAS a secular dictator.

                      Congratulations. Now stop debating a point I’m not making.

                      For the THIRD time I said- “He was a dictator that used Islamic belief as an excuse for his strongman tactics.”

                3. The removal of Saddam Hussein from power was undoubtedly the ONLY positive result of Bush’s war, but hardly worth the price paid.

                  As for Hussein’s plan to build a big mosque, or the Islamic symbolism he added to the flag – purely opportunistic on his part, since he saw that other Middle Eastern nations did not come to his aid in the first Gulf War. He hoped to appeal to the Arab masses, who are very religious in a way he was not.

                  1. I said above “He was a dictator that used Islamic belief as an excuse for his strongman tactics.”

            2. “There are hundreds of dead Marines who disagree with you.”

              So you’d like the U.S. to start bombing Iran next? Maybe we should invade Lebanon again? After all, it worked out so well for the Israelis this last time. Hezbollah’s totally eradicated, right? Dear Lord, if a 1 trillion dollar price tag, 4000 dead American troops, God-only-knows how many dead Iraqi civilians (100,000-to the better part of 1/2 million), and ~15,000 U.S. troops with plastic and metal where flesh and blood used to be don’t convince you that the Iraq invasion was a stupid idea, what would?

              The failure of the Republican Party to have their own version of Khrushchev’s speech denouncing Stalin, only this time calling out W, is another reason I don’t think the Republicans will really change anything when they take over the House in 2010. They really feel they didn’t do anything wrong. And in a nod to the Codevilla thread, the scariest part of his essay was not what’s going on now, it’s what happens when Ruling Class part 2 takes over and the Ruled Class figures out nothing is different between Team Red and Team Blue.

            3. Some of my best friends ar Kurds.

              1. Should be are….that was pirate talk.

                1. Iraq, under Saddam, was one of the most secular countries in the middle east

                  In the company of Iran and SA, that’s like being one of the skinniest girls at fat camp.

                  Saddam was also funding Abu Sayyaf — the Filipinos were really pissed about it, because they’ve killed hundreds of people in the Phillipines.

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

                  Saddam consciously moved towards the Sunni fundies after 1991, doing things like restricting women’s rights and issuing the call to prayer on TV.

          3. As to the Jews it is their business to secure their own freedom, not the US responsibility to hand it to them.

            As to the slaves it is their business to secure their own freedom, not the US responsibility to hand it to them.

            1. America is going to free the living shit out of you all!

            2. You analogy to slavery here in the US is a big FAIL for reasons which should be obvious.

              As for the Jews, you’re kidding yourself if you think we went to war with Germany and Japan to liberate them.

              Your apparent argument (and I say that loosely) taken to its logical conclusion would mean that the US should be at war with China, Iran, North Korea, Egypt, Turkey, Rwanda (and almost the whole of Africa for that matter), Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and a whole list of other countries who persecute any number of minorities.

              So where should we go next?

              1. Boy you really like to argue with points I’m not making.

                Again-I specifically stated above “I have never argued that we should invade countries to liberate their peoples”.

          4. “As to the Kurds and the Iraqis it is their business to secure their own freedom, not the US responsibility to hand it to them.”

            Thank God that the French did not have that mindset in 1776. People struggling for democracy and freedom should always have a friend in the United States of America, albeit invasion should always be seen as a very last resort.

            If is were not for the US military presence in the Middle East since the end of the first Gulf War, there would likely be too few Kurds to be worth liberating.

            On a related note, there are many interesting reads on Iraqi Kurdistan online.

            http://www.theotheriraq.com/

            http://www.globalsecurity.org/…..n-iraq.htm

            1. I can understand this argument to a certain extent, but the sad fact of the matter is that it’s not always black and white in terms of who’s for ‘liberty and freedom’. Tibet, under the Dali Lama, was close to hell on earth. Once the US leaves Iraq (if it ever happens) they’ll leave the Shia majority in power. They could very easily end up being ‘Saddam light’… or perhaps worse.

              Freedom and liberty for one group, can mean misery and certain death for another… of course that’s not to say the US should most definitely remain neutral 100% of the time regardless of the situation.

            2. “Thank God that the French did not have that mindset in 1776. People struggling for democracy and freedom should always have a friend in the United States of America, albeit invasion should always be seen as a very last resort.”

              There is a major distinction here you failed to address.

              1. The U.S. as a general populace was fighting for it’s independence. France came along to help the pre-existing formal ‘war’ against Britain.

              2. The Iraq invasion has no parallels to the U.S. civil war in that the U.S. invaded and initiated war at it’s own discretion.

              If France had invaded the U.S. and had itself bought about the independence of the U.S. from Britain, then yes, your argument would hold some weight.
              As history was otherwise, I’m sure you can now see your error.

          5. What if the French had yur attitude back in the 1700s?

            1. There would never have been a reign of terror.

        2. Support for the Kurdish independence groups and the Shi’ite Islamic revolutionaries could have been provided under the Reagan Doctrine of aid for anti-totalitarian liberation movements.

          Unfortunately, the Reagan administration saw Hussein’s Iraq as a counter to Iran, and provided military aid to Hussein’s government instead.

          After 9/11 people questioned the Reagan doctrine aid to Islamic revolutionaries in Afghanistan, and no American politician would call for aiding the Islamic groups in Iraq which were all aligned with Iran in any case. The Kurdish separatist groups have also long been allied with Iran, and Bush’s guy Chalabi was an Iranian agent as well.

      2. “trillions in debt”

        The Afghan and Iraq wars

        1. Actually the current social engineering exercise being imposed by zero will cost far more than these wars.

      3. The biggest problem with this argument is that the West was buying oil from Saddam that wasn’t really his — he was taking it by force and then using it to oppress his people.

        So yes, we did have some responsibility for the mess Iraq was in 2002.

    2. You’re right, there were a lot of reasons stated for removing Saddam. WMD’s were oversold by the administration, though, which is one of the reasons it became such an issue later on. That’s one of the reasons I don’t doubt that they believed Iraq had them. They were sure it would pan out.

      1. Many conservatives are too ashamed to admit that they were duped by Shrub.

        The Dem senator from Minnesota, who was on the frickin’ Senate Intelligence Committee, stated at that time that there was NO evidence of Iraqi WMDs in briefings!

        1. And was the Clinton administration retroactively duped by Bush as well? Because they had the same opinion on Saddam’s WMDs.

          1. Nearly ALL of the Democrats had the same opinion about Saddam back then. I hardly consider Dems as being competent on foreign policy decisions.

            A great deal of people did not believe the “evidence” of Iraqi WMDs, most being neither Repubs or Dems.

        2. I assume you mean Paul Wellstone.

          October 3, 2002.
          Statement by Sen. Wellstone Regarding Military Action Against Iraq

          http://www.wellstone.org/news/…..e-iraq-war

          Let me be clear: Saddam Hussein is a brutal, ruthless dictator who has repressed his own people, attacked his neighbors, and remains an international outlaw. The world would be a much better place if he were gone and the regime in Iraq were changed. That’s why the U.S. should unite the world against Saddam, and not allow him to unite forces against us.

          A go-it-alone approach, allowing for a ground invasion of Iraq without the support of other countries, could give Saddam exactly that chance.

          A pre-emptive go-it-alone strategy towards Iraq is wrong. I oppose it. I support ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction through unfettered U.N. inspections, which should begin as soon as possible. Only a broad coalition of nations, united to disarm Saddam, while preserving our war on terror, is likely to succeed. Our primary focus now must be on Iraq’s verifiable disarmament of weapons of mass destruction. This will help maintain international support, and could even eventually result in Saddam’s loss of power. Of course, I would welcome this, as would most of our allies.

          So, yes, he was against the AUMF resolution – but not because he thought Iraq was WMD free.

          And if you meant Mark Dayton, I don’t believe he ever sat on the intelligence committee, and anyway, he’s a serious nutcase.

          1. Correction — Dayton was on the Senate Armed Forces Committee and his statement was a result of a meeting with the Intelligence Committee.

            No, I didn’t mean Wellstone. Wellstone was Jewish and backed most — not all– positions favorable to Israel (which is fine, as long as it’s open and consistent on the part of the lawmaker).

            Wellstone was a Big ‘D’ Democrat in foreign policy.

    3. Abu Nidal is believed to have been assasinated by Saddam’s forces last time I checked. Pointing out that he was in Iraq means what exactly? Even setting aside the fact he got shot up by Iraqi intelligence (which would suggest something less than a working relationship to say the least), just what reasons do we have for caring about secular palestinian terrorist groups? Slapping the label terrorist on something doesn’t change the calculus needed to make real foreign policy decisions. The question was fundamentally whether or not Saddam was adequately contained. He was, therefore the war was pointless.

  4. This is absurd. We bombed out the infrastructure in Iraq and then placed sanctions on that country. They were powerless when they were invaded. The idea that because Saddam was a violent tyrant justifies going into Iraq and killing more people is laughable. Power in the Middle East has solely rested with the Western World since the days of their colonization.

    1. Power in the Middle East has solely rested with the Western World since the days of their colonization.

      Wow that’s some powerful delusions you have there. Iran? Syria? Lybia? Egypt? Lebanon? Controlled by the West?

      Seriously?

      1. T’man, DJF is right. Liberty does not brook wealth confiscation for initiating aggression / making war.

  5. Frum predicted that a Saddam Hussein regime left intact in 2003 would have become far more dangerous due to new wealth from rising oil prices and the probable collapse of sanctions?and would have eventually ended in a violent downfall with massive casualties from sectarian battles.

    I like Frum’s prediction. Can we go back in time and not invade? Then watch Saddam suffer a “violent downfall” at the hands of his own people? Because that would’ve been much preferred.

    1. Its fantasy land speculation.

      1. Obviously.

        It’s funny that Frum’s attempt to justify the war is just another refutation of the invasion.

    2. “a Saddam Hussein regime left intact in 2003 would have become far more dangerous due to new wealth from rising oil prices…”

      Actually, most of the run-up in oil prices came because the invasion of Iraq disrupted Iraqi oil production. While Iraq has not benefitted from higher oil prices, Russia, Iran and Venezuela have. Russia, Iran and Venezuela have gotten much more benefit from the war than the American taxpayers stuck with the bill.

      1. sadly, you’re right!

  6. in 1952 the People of Iran attempted to overthrow a Western Government and the CIA engineered a counter coup from the embassy. People like Tman don’t read history. That’s why people like Tman are so indignant when the people of Iran took the US Embassy Hostage.

    1. Silly Persians, democracy is for people.

  7. Technically, of course, the first Gulf War never ended, and the casus belli for renewed hostilities can be cited as Hussein’s repeated violation of the terms of the cease fire.

    But, screw that, we have tired talking points to trot out.

    1. Yes the great war to make the world safe for the hereditary dictatorship of Kuwait. Let freedom ring!

      Also remind me, what were these violations of the cease fire that were so grave to require a new war?

    2. Why is this so hard for so many people to grasp?

      1. Because Iraq was no threat to the US and so there was no good reason to get 3,000 American dead, tens of thousands more wounded and at least another trillion added to the US debt.

        1. I believe it’s 4,400 Americans dead not 3,000.

          Dipshit.

          1. Again, there is no textual support for the proposition that the constitution permits the state to make war on foreign soil.

            1. That’s not my point here. I’m just saying that if you keep saying 3,000 you look like a dipshit.

        2. There are many, many good reasons to say that Gulf War II was a mistake. However, none of those things have anything to do with whether or not it was legal.

          1. Kinnath,

            Does it really matter if a war is internationally legal or not? Just because the unelected oligarchs in the UN say a war is legal doesn’t make it moral to start killing people.

            1. It was not immoral to remove Saddam after he spent a decading serially violating the UN resolutions that would have ended the original Gulf war.

              However, I do believe it was immoral to overthrow a repressive regime with no fucking plan whatsoever to deal with the occupation of a hostile land.

              But, the real issue for me is that I am just plain fucking tired of people that say “outcome bad, must have been immoral and illegal”.

              1. War is always immoral, but unfornately sometimes neccessary.

                My point about the UN was, libertarians shouldn’t care what the UN thinks about any war. Why should I care if the UN says a war is legal or not. I refuse to recognize that the UN has any authority over me or America. Saying that the war was technically legal because Saddam violated the UN ceasefire means nothing.

                1. Legal, moral, just; three independent concepts, frequently in conflict.

                  As far at the UN, that deserves its own 500+ post thread.

            2. Depends who you kill.

        3. Why do so many of you when speaking of the lives lost due to the invasion, only speak of the armed U.S. soldiers, as if their deaths (which constitute only a minute fraction of those killed) is somehow of greater loss then the death of 100,000+ civilians.

          I’m not trying to be snarky, but honestly, don’t you feel at least somewhat dirty at speaking in such a manner?

          I’m sure you’d be quite horrified to hear someone speak about 9/11 casualties in terms of only the high-jackers who died, no?

    3. “”Technically, of course, the first Gulf War never ended, “”

      Neither has the Korean War. It seems we don’t end them anymore. We do a soft close that give us an opening for future action.

    4. You appear to be confusing the first Gulf War (Iraq vs. Iran) with the second Gulf War.

      1. No, usage has changed. What used to be called the Gulf War is now (in the US at least) called the Iran-Iraq War.

        Wars sometimes get retroactive name changes, e.g.: The Great War.

        1. I always remember it called the Iran-Iraq war.

          1. I think it was often called the Gulf War in the UK and Europe. That was how the Economist referred to it, IIRC.

    5. R.C. – yes, if Hussein had maintained a WMD program, that would have been in violation of the cease fire that ended the first Gulf War. But after 8 years in Iraq, we did not find Hussein’s WMD program.

      Thanks for trotting out a tired talking point.

      1. Saddam did the equivalent of walking into a bank with hand in the pocket of a jacket and then trying to rob the bank with his finger.

        He destroyed his WMD program, then spent years preventing the UN from verifying that it was in fact destroyed. In addition, he mounted a campaign of miss-information to make everyone suspect that he still had WMD with the expectation that it would frighten neighboring countries.

        Saddam was an incredibly stupid man.

        1. “”Saddam was an incredibly stupid man.””

          Who’s more stupid, the stupid man, or the people who believe the stupid man.

          1. Man walks up to a woman on the streets with his hand in his pocket and says “take off your clothes or I’ll shoot you”.

            Instead she sprays his eyes with pepper spray, then pulls a gun and shoots him twice in the chest.

            During the subsequent investigation it becomes clear he was only pointing his finger in his pocket and not a gun.

            That woman was so stupid.

            1. Yes. A few other things should be pointed out. Saddam’s WMD program had Soviet roots, and part of their doctrine was to be able to hide WMD programs from international inspection. Plus, before the invasion, quite a number of truck convoys went from Iraq to Syria. I’d like to know what was in them.

              1. PapayaSF, didn’t you hear?! Saddam had WMD’s, we know he gassed the Kurds, but he got rid of them! The whole 8 years of sanctions was just a game. He was following the rules but pretending not to do so! Diabolical!

                1. He took it pretty far. Some Army units were equipped with anti-nerve gas atropine injectors, and you know it wasn’t because he thought we were going to use gas.

                  1. The Iranian military used poison gas during the Iran/Iraq war, and the Iraqis were still afraid that Iran would attack.

                2. This was the essence of the final UN report. So, yes he actually did destroy the WMD right after Gulf War I and then spent 8 years playing mind games with the UN.

                  1. The final report also stated Saddam never gave up his WMD programs, just mothballed them. So, it’s probably correct to say the invasion prevented Saddam from acquiring WMD.

            2. So, the point of this analogy is that having nuclear weapons (whether confirmed or not) justifies a brutal invasion?

              You do realise Israel has more nuclear weapons then any other Middle Eastern country, and actively defend any outside verification of their nuclear stockpile.

              Funny, I don’t see ‘us’ invading Israel for doing the same as Saddam by making snide suggestions at their nuclear capacity (which is done for no other reason then intimidating their neighbours)

              1. Yeah, oddly enough we don’t talk about invading France either. I can’t imagine why France and Israel might be treated differently than Saddamist Iraq. Probably just racism.

                1. Hence my incredulity at kinnath’s postulation that Saddam’s common practice of using an alluded nuclear arsenal as being any justification for war.

  8. Egypt’s Regime receives funding from the US and is a relic of the previous foreign policy: Dictators with us not against us.

  9. Syria and her client state of Lebanon are a poor pair of states. Iran is the only “power” in the middle east and they don’t have the power to control the water of their own ports. The Idea that the West hasn’t controlled the resources coming out of the middle east is hilarious. Where does all that oil go? Why does China lend us money to buy their goods and control geopolitical affairs?

    1. Iran is months away from obtaining a nuclear weapon that will once and for all tip the scales of power and force Israels hand. The West is essentially powerless to stop it right now because no politician would propose military action to prevent this from becoming a reality. Iran -a Persian nation- is currently running the Arab world through proxy arms such as Hezbollah and Hamas. Iran is currently run by a theocratic dictatorship that uses sham democratic elections to appease the West. To say we “control” them in any way is to deny each of these facts.

      1. Iran has been months away from obtaining nuclear weapons for the better part of a decade. Spare us your blind allegiance to U.S. power & the tired talking points emanating from Fox News.

        Regards,
        TDL

        1. Spare us your blind allegiance to U.S. power & the tired talking points emanating from Fox News.

          Right. It’s all Fox news. I fucking hate it when people us “Fox News” as their scapegoat to argue that I blindly hold allegiance to some worn talking point. You make it seem as if the US is the only intelligence community concerned with the Iranians uranium enrichment, despite the fact that there are UN sanctions in place precisely BECAUSE of the fact that Iran is attempting to build a nuke. Clearly Fox news isn’t alone.

          Also, I don’t even WATCH Fox news.

          Spare me your libertarin isolationist fantasies about balance of power in Middle east.

          1. “””You make it seem as if the US is the only intelligence community concerned with the Iranians uranium “””

            You make it seem as if the US is the only intelligence community concerned with the Iraqi WMD’s.

            So where is this intelligence and what does it say? Is it as factual as the Mobile Biological labs that Secretary of State Powell said were in Iraq? Or how about that fake letter from Niger which said that Iraq was importing Niger yellow cake. Or how about the news reports that said that Iraq was testing WMD’s in Darfur?

            So please tell me what actual information these members of the “intelligence community’ are claiming? All I keep on reading is vague “could be”, might be”, “possible”. So tell me the actual factual information which says that Iran has a nuclear weapons program?

            1. T’man has Moynihanian myopia.

            2. You make it seem as if the US is the only intelligence community concerned with the Iraqi WMD’s.

              ?. I don’t get it.

              So where is this intelligence and what does it say

              Judge for yourself.
              http://www.heritage.org/resear…..nd-unknown

              1. Where does it say that Iran has a nuclear weapons program? Looks like a lot of “could be”, “might be”, “possibly”.

                1. Where does it say that Iran has a nuclear weapons program?

                  To use but one of the several examples of multiple intelligence agencies confirming that the Iranian nuclear program has many non-civilian projects ongoing, what use does Iran have in testing a Neutron Initiator?

                  1. So which supposed “Intelligence agency” makes this claim? Where is this document? Who is suppose to have written this document? Why hasn’t this document been released to the public, if it’s a real document there is no need to have it secret since the Iranians would obviously know what is in it.

                    But instead you want me to trust the Times of London, a newspaper who printed fake intelligence about WMD’s in Iraq and some unknown intelligence agencies

                    1. Do your arms get tired from moving these goalposts?

                      You:”Show me the intelligence that says Iran is working on a nuke”

                      Me: “Ok, here’s a list.
                      Fact #1: Iran has built an extensive and expensive nuclear infrastructure that is much larger than what would be necessary to support a civilian nuclear power program.
                      Fact #2: Iran sought to buy technology from A. Q. Khan’s nuclear weapon proliferation network, which also provided assistance to Libya and North Korea.
                      Fact #3: Iran continues to conceal and lie about its nuclear weapons efforts.
                      Fact #4: Iran rejected a nuclear deal that would have advanced its civilian nuclear efforts, belying its claims that civilian purposes are its only motivation.”

                      You:”Where does it say that Iran has a nuclear weapons program?”

                      Me:”I’m glad you don’t work for the IAEA.

                      You:”The London Times isn’t a reputable source since they lied about Saddams WMD’s.”

                      Me:”First of all, the link I gave you has 54 sourced articles supporting the evidence discussed. Second, the Times didn’t lie about Saddams WMD’s. They reported what other intelligence agencies had discovered. Third of all, the Times report is sourced from several other articles supporting the claim about the initiators. Even if that is false you STILL have ignored all the other evidence.”

                      You must have like, huge shoulders. Goalposts are heavy.

                    2. Sourced!!!!. The Neutron Initiator that you brought up is sourced by “Western intelligence agencies”. That is not a source, it’s a rumor. A source has an actual name. It would also have the actual documents. So you have no source and no facts, just vague charges by unknown people.

                      Hey I have a bridge I want to sell you in Brooklyn, don’t worry Western intelligence agencies say that I have the title to it so send me a million dollars and its yours.

                    3. So all the other points are invalid because you won’t accept the source (!!!) about the initiators?

                      Give it a rest dude.

                    4. Intelligence gathering is by its very nature a lot of guesswork based on the facts that you are able to obtain. The fewer facts, the less certain your guesses. The more facts, the more likely you are to be right. Still, there will always be the possibility that your interpretation of the facts will be wrong. I believe this is what happened with the intel leading up to the invasion of Iraq. I find it hard to believe that the entire Bush administration were conspiring to deliberately deceive the public (never mind that many other countries were voicing similar viewpoints regarding Iraq’s weapons program).

                      Asking for certainty from intelligence is a pipe dream. You base your decisions on the best data you have. Waiting until Iran actually detonates a nuclear weapon, which would be definitive intelligence, is probably the wrong way to go about gathering information. I’m not saying the decision to invade Iraq was the right one (actually I think we had a poor plan and should not have gone in as we did), but screaming because there isn’t ironclad proof in the face of a stonewalling regime is a bit of a stretch.

                    5. Saddam wasn’t stonewalling at the time of invasion though. And the people on the ground doing the only thing that could truly be considered intelligence gathering said as much and were adamantly against invasion. (I’m referring to Hans Blix’s team).

                      I agree with the general point about intelligence, but specifically speaking on Iraq, it seems our agencies started with a conclusion and then speculated on what would be true if that conclusion were right. And voila, aluminum tubes become a nefarious conspiracy.

                      As for the Iran question, I’d like to point out that our current intelligence analysis holds that Iran stopped developing nukes in 2003.

                      http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..00846.html

                      And I’m pretty sure nothing’s changed on that front.

            3. Saddam buried jets in the sand. Its quite possible there are still WMD buried somewhere and Saddam had those who dug hole killed. I doubt it but its possible.

              The simple fact is there were so many LEGITIMATE reasons (some listed here some not) for taking out Saddam the decision was a no-brainer. Bush didn’t have to overkill with the WMD stuff. The mood of the country at that time would have supported him on that decision even if he had said “lets play cowboys and Muslims”.

              1. Didn’t the Israelis just take out some North Korean WMD in Syria?

                Didn’t Saddam have a habit of flying assets to other countries as wars begun(see his air force in 1991)?

                The truth is no one really knows for sure what happened to Saddam’s WMD and associated equipment.

      2. “””Iran is months away from obtaining a nuclear weapon “”

        The only people saying that is the mouth breathing editorial writers who get paid to say stupid stuff like that. There is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. All the reports in the papers keep on saying things like “could be”, “might be”, “possible” which add up to no evidence.

        1. I’m not going to make a call on whether Iran is or is not building nukes. If they are, so what? They can’t use them.

          And they aren’t going to turn them over to some terrorist organization for the simple reason that they are well aware that those organizations are loose cannons that are quiet likely to decide that the Islamic Republic of Iran is insufficiently ‘pure’ and needs to be purged.

      3. Pakistan already has them. India has them. Why is Iran having them a bigger threat?

        1. And the Crazy of Crazies, Kim Il Jong has them, too.

          (I would consider relocating if I lived in Seoul, though.)

          1. The lil man in NK is crazy like a fox but no mistake about it he is not crazy like a religious zealot. The Mullahs are waiting the arrival of the 12th Imam and could trigger a war believing he’ll appear to save the world for Islam. Don’t take my word for it take the Ayatollah’s word.

            We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah. For patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world.” -Ayatollah Khomeini

            The lil man in NK is just a sable rattler because he knows democrats will kiss his ass when he rattles. Little Kim enjoys his God like status his people bestow upon him. Its a bad analogy to compare lil Kim and the crazy religious zealots running Iran. In fact that sect of Islam has been fighting the Sunnis for 100s of years over that 12th Imam interpretation.

            1. Ironically, the North Koreans have been closer to a war footing for several months then the Iranians.

              1. Yeah, but that’s just an excuse to feed the troops.

                I wonder how many of those artillery pieces would even fire anymore?

                Someday Kim Jong Il will really piss off the South, China will say “Hey, this guy just showed up at the party with me, he’s not really like a good friend or anything” and then everyone will be amazed when the war last about ten minutes.

    2. Where does all that oil go?

      Bush and Cheney have it, all of it, they use it as sauce on their hickory smoked hamburgers. Remember, the US invaded to get the oil, never forget, the US is baaad!

      1. Yes, and like Cruz said, to think otherwise is hilarious.

      2. Funny how China got the contracts no the US but the oil for food scandal does give new meaning to the blood for oil theory. The UN should be dissembled for that reason alone.

      3. Funny how China got the contracts no the US but the oil for food scandal does give new meaning to the blood for oil theory. The UN should be dissembled for that reason alone.

  10. The USA is the only military power. No one has a “blue water Navy”, or a “Global Air Force.” No one can wage any sort of military might against the USA.

    1. …barring China, who wouldn’t dare risk their trade relationship that funds their prosperous economy.

      1. No. China barely has a navy that can project power into the Pacific, you can forget about the Atlantic.

        If they get uppity, all we have to do is re-arm Japan.

      2. While I think China basically wants to dominate its ‘sphere of influence’ (and India is going to be obstacle # in SE Asia), the fact that a war might be an economic disaster hasn’t prevented them in the past.

        cf: Iraq.

        1. China isn’t expansionist. They have enough internal problems to last many dynasties.

          1. Didn’t say they were, but China has always looked on its neighbors as subjects/tributaries more than as partners.

          2. Well, they certainly want to expand to Taiwan.

        2. Russia probably has more to worry about from China than the US does.

          1. Is that even a question? The whole Russian Far East will be a Chinese province by 2040.

  11. That role belongs to the dictator who drove so many of his subjects to welcome a foreign invasion, and to the extremists who unleashed carnage on their own.

    How bout the part of the “ruling class” that installed Sadam 1.0 in the first place? Surely they get some of the blame?

    1. Not only installed him, but provided the chemical weapons and equipment to disperse them. Perhaps because Rumsfeld was holding some of the receipts? Also, Kissinger Associates comes to mind. Nah, nothing suspicious going on. But, hey, we were just helping our friends. Right?

      He was “our son-of-a-bitch”, don’t cha you know. Too bad he crossed us, Saddam 3.0 would of been bad ass. Blood seething with Ebola, nostrils that unleashed mustard gas, and eyeballs that shot out freakin’ lasers! Such entertainment it would be, and profitable, to throw two puppet regimes against each other like Iran and Iraq. Thunderdome, anyone?

      1. I blame Carter and France for our support of Saddam. Saddam was a Sunni dictator in a majority Shi’ite country and freaked out when Carter tugged the rug from under the Shah of Iran. However it made the Soviets happy to get an ally of the West out of their backyard.

        1. Carter was what we called a useful idiot.

        2. Carter did not “tug the rug out from under the Shah”. The Shah was truly hated by almost everybody in Iran and his fall was inevitable.

          The fact that Khomeni was even more ruthless does not mean that Carter was to blame for the Shah’s fall.

          1. Bullshi’ite!

            The Shah was hated by the soviets because he was an ally of the West. The Soviets wanted him out of their backyard and promoted the propaganda campaign against him. Carter came to office promising the human rights stuff and forced the Shah to allow gatherings etc… Carter put in motion the demise of the Shah and the Soviets thought he was such a useful idiot for doing it they went ahead and invaded Afghanistan. Carter actually said he couldn’t believe how mean the Soviets were for that. The human rights people that condemn Israel all the time condemned the Shah the same way they do Israel. The Shah put down the very types the US is hunting down in the WoT. The Shah killed around 3000 dissidents in his time, the Ayatollah killed that many in his first week.

            1. Also, the Ayatollah taking over Iran lead to Saddam freaking out and starting war with them because the majority in Iraq is Shi’ite, he feared the revolution would spread.

              Why the fuck do you think Carter was the worst President ever? It wasn’t just his domestic policy. Sheeeeeeesh! The consequences of Carter’s ineptness lead the US to support Saddam and actually Iran too to keep them stalemated and also bin Laden with the mujahadeen. Decisions have consequences and Carter was a smart guy who made bad decisions and a lot of unintended consequences followed. The Soviets played him like a fiddle. The Shah had Iran modernizing and looking Westward, France also played a role in the Shah’s demise as they always loved to poke Britain and the US in the eye.

              Carter was a useful idiot and much of the problem in the ME are because of his decisions and the consequences that followed. Go learn for yourself about Carter’s human rights campaign around the world and the demands he made of the Shah, however well intentioned he was extremely naive.

            2. Bullshit back at you.

              There was an almost universal uprising against the Shah. No outside interference was required.

              1. And now the Ayatollahs that Carter let take over Iran (and that his officials said would be remembered as saints) are now even less popular… but since they’re far more ruthless than the Shah they’ll apparently be in power forever.

                Oh, and the only thing they hate more than freedom for Iranians is us.

                Good move.

  12. Seeing Uday a Qusay’s naked, fat, bullet-ridden corpses stretched out on a slab is legacy enough for me.

    1. Unday and Qusay’s

    2. It gives me a rock hard erection thinking about it, too.

      1. Take some pride in your appearance and shave your number sign dude. Besides it makes it look a whole equals sign longer.

    3. Next up is Ush-bay and Eney-Chay.

  13. It’s absurd for a libertarian to defend the Iraq occupation on any grounds whatsoever. Or do ends sometimes justify means?

    Realize those means are getting more Americans killed than were on 9/11, and countless innocent Iraqis.

    1. Used to be that most of us didn’t. I still don’t. I guess the Tea Party has brought more cross-over conservatives.

      To some degree, I understand those who believe war to overthrow dictators maximizes liberty (i.e. the collateral damage and human lives lost < that which would have happened under the dictator). But I still can’t even see that as a compelling argument for the Iraq war, as we have essentially destabilized the country. Because all the other arguments about nukes, terrorism, etc. have been debunked, the whole “Iraqi liberation” meme is largely discredited by the fact that it would either require permanent military control by the US, or the Shiite majority will enable Iran or radical Islamists to take power – democratically or otherwise – and possibly be even worse than Saddam and his descendants would have been…

      1. We’ll be there forever, don’t worry. With an embassy the size of the Vatican in Iraq, US forces will be, in varying degrees, there more then a hundred years, or until the empire collapses.

    2. You are largely correct Tony.

      1. Dammit, I hate it when I agree with Tony… and I was a conservative who supported the war in the beginning.

        1. There is nothing wrong with agreeing with a fool on those rare instances when he happens to be right.

          1. True, but the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach remains.

            1. Don’t worry Tony made up for it downthread at 5:56 PM by implying that Bush invaded Iraq to get control of the oil.

    3. Except on the grounds that it vastly expanded liberty for Iraqis.

  14. No one can wage any sort of military might against the USA.

    I’ll remember that next time I have lunch at the Windows on the World restaurant.

    1. That is because the US political leaders and military thinks that actually defending the US is not their job. Which explains why the US could not stop the terrorists from entering the US, nor traveling around the US nor get any fighters over two major US cities.

      The US military in the US mostly consists of units with low priority and readiness and the only time they are brought up to strength is when they are about to deploy overseas.

      Maybe if the US actually spent some of the more then trillion dollars a year they spend on “defense” in actually defending the US they might actually accomplish something. Instead we spend the money defending rich countries in Europe and Asia and “nation building” in poor counties

      1. An authentic libertarian does not support empire building and war making on foreign soil. No true libertarian could have supported the Iraq war. Period.

        Cathy Young is no libertarian.

        1. Didn’t you mean “No true libertarian supports . . . . “.

          Matches the Scottsman fallacy more clearly that way.

          1. Since the non-agression principle is pretty fundamental, I tend to agree that supporting the Iraq war was against libertarian ideals.

            However, as Ho Chang Ba noted above, I can understand people’s desire to be rid of a despicable dictator. War, which kills vastly more innocents than guilty, is the wrong way to do it.

            1. I wonder how fundamental that principle really is.

              Does it extend to letting N Korea take S Korea?

              Does it extend to negotiating a peace with Japan instead of invading, despite the millions they were killing in Asia?

              Does it extend to negotiating a peace with Germany, despite the ongoing Holocaust?

              If the argument is “well, they attacked first, so we can do whatever” then OIF is easily justified based on the innumerable cease-fire violations from 1991-2003.

        2. An authentic libertarian does not support empire building and war making on foreign soil.

          When your definition of libertarian excludes Thomas Jefferson, you might want to re-think.

          1. No true libertarian owns slaves. My definition of libertarian DOES exclude Thomas Jefferson.

          2. Thomas Jefferson wasn’t a libertarian:

            First of all, there was that whole slavery thing. Kind of a big deal to libertarians…

            Then there was the horrendous Embargo Act of 1807.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embargo_Act_of_1807

            He relocated Native American tribes who refused to become “civilized” or assimilate into white culture.

            All in all, Jefferson was the closest American president to being libertarian, but he was still far from it.

            1. Don’t forget the Louisiana Purchase.

            2. He even funded Catholics to teach native Americans wall of separation be damned.

            3. Thomas Jefferson WAS a libertarian, because he was a slave owner and therefore a racist, which all libertarians are. And they all suck Ron Pual’s cock.

          3. C’mon RDC, you’re better than that.

          4. TJ had a lot of good things to say, but the man wasn’t a libertarian

        3. Anyone who does not believe in empire building and pre-emptive wars of aggression would not have supported the Iraq war. Period.

    2. “”I’ll remember that next time I have lunch at the Windows on the World restaurant.””

      Did that qualify as military might?

    3. “I’ll remember that next time I have lunch at the Windows on the World restaurant.”

      I guess I don’t eat in restaurants enough to understand what point you are making.

      1. Window on the World was the restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center’s North tower.

      2. What I find more puzzling is RC’s definition of military might.

    4. It was a crime, not some projection of military might and assets.

  15. I would be shocked if there was a stable democratic government in Iraq 5 years from now.

    But it will still probably be better than Karzai.

  16. 1.5 trillion of taxpayers’ money gone. Much more than that counting interest on the debt.

    1. And medical bills

  17. It’s too early to know history’s verdict.

    I am perfectly ready to call it a clusterfuck right now, an opinion that is unchanged since 3/20/03.

    1. IIRC, the “history will judge” argument was first used by Bill Kristol about 5 years ago.

      It’s as tired then as it is now. Reminds of the liberals talking about the stimulus package.

      1. Oh, yes. The clusterfuck just before Obamacareclusterfuck.

        They’re coming faster all the time. Must be why Chad is so eager for the Highspeedrailclusterfuck.

        1. It’s always darkest right before the sun goes out. Pensionpocalypse will be a doozy.

          1. Just wait till Chinapocalypse hits and they can’t buy our T-bills anymore.

            I mean, seriously, who fuck thinks they can grow an economy at 8% indefinitely with construction as 60% of GDP? That’s fucktardonomics.

  18. “They do, however, put our actions in perspective.”

    But we don’t like perspective when it comes to war. We like frozen abstractions decorated with pacifist platitudes free of all context. Objective consideration of context is just a disguise for brown people hatred.

    1. I might agree with this, if I understood it. Please clarify, especially the last sentence.

      1. I resent it when some commenters here respond to a carefully objective examination of American involvement in Iraq with deep thoughts like “Cathy is trying to justify the war because she hates brown people!” simply because her report on the good, bad and ugly didn’t exclude the good.

  19. Interesting statistic: ~75% of Iraqis support the removal of Saddam.

    1. Then why didn’t ~75% of Iraqis take care of the problem themselves?

      1. Because the ~25% of Sunnis who ran the country had the Kurds and Shiites under their thumb in ways which would make Kim Jong-il proud. The Shiites tried to overthrow Saddam in the 1990’s but were put down brutally, no thanks to to Bush Senior. The Kurds had no chance on their own.

        1. Thing is though, that those Shiite uprisings in the 1990’s were with the US’s “backing” but when the check came there was no US there to help. In other words, it was not a natural set of revolutions, but perhaps ones that were too early. The Kurds could again run into problems with the new Iraqi government, and they face problems with Turkey, who happens to be one of the US’s most reliable allies in the “zone”.

          1. You mean H.W. Bush lied to them?
            FUCK!
            Did democrats know this when our soldiers were over there in harms way while demmocrats kept calling Dubya a liar day in and day out? FUCK!

    2. That’s probably true – about matches the % of the population that were Sunni. Shiites and Kurds were never fans.

      This justifies the war (or our involvement), how? A majority of Americans probably want Obama removed from office (today, if possible) as well. No matter how bad Obama gets, it would not justify China coming in, killing tens of thousands of our citizens, occupying us for decades and inserting their favored candidate into power.

      1. A better comparison would Stalin, or Hitler. Obama is a nitwit, but he is not on the level with Saddam, at least so far.

        1. That line is subjective though. I’m referring to the fact that just because majority wants the government leadership removed from power is never a justification for another country to invade, occupy, kill and insert their own puppet leadership. It’s an interesting fact, but does not validate our government’s action.

          1. The line between Obama and Saddam is subjective?

            1. Well, they are both named Hussein…

              …hey, I think I know where Obama was really born! Get the birther movement on the phone, stat!

      2. And they will pull his fangs in November, and toss him out on his ass in 2012. The US is designed with regime change as a feature. We don’t have a dictator.

        But, again, China’s welcome to try, if they think they can….

    3. “Interesting statistic: ~75% of Iraqis support the removal of Saddam.”

      I’m not suprised considering the Sunni’s, Saddams power base only made up 20% of the population.

      1. Hey Cabeza, this is Esteban, remember when the Indians regarded us as “children of the sun?”

        1. Yes, those were the days. Although, enslavement & walking all the way to Mexico City sucked ass.

          1. Haha yea. I hear ya. Anyways, just wanted to say hey and see whats up. Kind of cool running into on this message thread.

            1. I know amigo. What’s it been like almost 470 some years now? What have you been doing with your self all this time?

    4. Great, so when are they gonna start paying us back?

    5. Interesting statistic 2: Bush II left office with about the same level of support (e.g., the 25%)!

  20. since when were there so many neocon reason readers? I haven’t checked out a reason comment thread in a while but it seems to me each time there are more and more blood-thirsty “libertarians.” It seems to me the “pro-war pro-empire” crowd seems to always be dominating any article/blog post about war. Last time I checked Reason was a libertarian magazine? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? And why does Cathy Young still write for this magazine?

    1. I think it’s the Tea Party, unfortunately…

      1. I think you are right. It is getting pretty frustrating when friends of mine who know nothing about libertarians have started to think what libertarians are is the tea party. Just a bunch of conservatives who don’t like a liberal democrat in office. Once the republicans are in control, bye bye tea party.

        1. It’s about time someone else fucking said it!

          Besides, if the Tea Party et al were so libertarian, why did they try so hard to unseat Ron Paul?

    2. Haven’t you heard? There are no more neocons. Everyone who didn’t vote for Obama is a libertarian now.

      Of course that means that ‘libertarianism’ has to stretch a little to justify invading other countries, preventing people from building on their property if it hurts someone’s feelings, and building a nuclear-capable border fence.

      At least until the GOP gets an empty suit in the White House. Then libertarians will be terrorist-coddling beltway cosmotarians again.

      1. Completely agree with you, Hugh. As I wrote above, the scariest thing about Codevila’s essay wasn’t what’s going on now, it’s what happens when the Team Red half of the Ruling Class takes over and the Ruled figure out that nothing is changing and things continue to get worse.

        How anyone can look at the price tag from the Iraq war vs. accomplishments and still feel it was a good idea…just baffles me. Just one more person to dump into INCIF, I suppose.

    3. Gosh, greg, it’s almost as if…people think differently than you! And why is it we get so many random, one-off commenters who wander in here and act concerned…

      OH WAIT GUYS I KNOW WHAT IT IS

      1. I want to add a new rule to the Drinking Game: every time someone makes reference to the fact that they “have lurked here a long time, but have (conveniently) never/rarely post”. We have an awful lot of these “Avid Fans”.

        1. MMMMM, yes.

          But there are already so many opportunities to drink while reading H&R, that I’d be plastered by 10:00 AM (Eastern) if I took advantage of them all.

        2. The Weekly Standard won’t allow comments.

        3. I really hope your name is the title of Ridley’s next book.

    4. This shouldn’t shock you. A democratic administration is going to bring out the conservatives.

    5. Because domestic libertarianism appeals to classical liberals at a time when the focus is on domestic policy. If it makes you feel better, look at it as an opportunity to do more than just preach to the choir for once.

  21. The war was inherently flawed:

    Military preemption — the “Bush Doctrine” — is nothing but global gun control. The Commander in Chief has turned the U.S. military into Handgun Control, Int. and intends to use it to disarm every rogue nation out there: first, Afghanistan; now, Iraq; next, Iran, North Korea, and God knows where else. And what about all the terrorist cells that don’t provide us with an identifiable “Japan” to target? How will any of this prevent a monster from walking across our border and unstopping a jar of anthrax in a major city? How can we pretend that the military can disarm every rogue in the world any more than the police can disarm every rogue in the country?

    1. To be fair, Cathy was saying that the Iraq war might be justified based on the fact that it freed Iraqis from a dictator, not because of WMDs.

  22. Being “even-handed” is one thing, bending over backwards to look at “both” sides of an argument is another. Sometimes, there is only one side to an argument. Our brazen attack on a small country which stood no threat to us at all – and the Iraqi people never asked for our “help” – certainly precludes any argument for our behavior. Because of this, Ms. Young snapped her spine in her efforts to make it seem so.

    Reason is a libertarian magazine, above all concerned with liberty. It is shocking that this article makes not one mention of the lack of a declaration of war as required by our Constitution. (Before you reply, there is no mention, anywhere, in the Constitution of an “Authorization to Use Force”)

    There is no mention, anywhere, about torture, or the destruction of civil liberties at home that are a direct result of our War Of Terror.

    This is a very disappointing article, to say the least. Ms. Young is a fine journalist, this is not one of her better moments.

  23. RC Dean said:

    Technically, of course, the first Gulf War never ended, and the casus belli for renewed hostilities can be cited as Hussein’s repeated violation of the terms of the cease fire.

    This, along with most other invasion rationales, does not justify any actions post May 1, 2003.

    And we still have 50,000 troops there.

    Clusterfuck is being kind.

    1. and will have for decades

      1. Just like those clusterfucks in Japan, Germany and S Korea.

  24. I admit it. I am not a true libertarian. I like public parks and libraries. I see value in public streets. I got a great education through the public schools in Iowa (although the teacher’s union has been busy destroying one of the best school system in the country since I grew up).

    Internationally, I don’t object to mutual defense treaties. I don’t object to foreign wars of defense, but I do find foreign wars of conquest obscene.

    In reality, none of that drives my position on Iraq, because Iraq falls under the “you broke it, you bought it” theory of retail management. Pretty much all of the problems of the middle east date back to the collapse of the British Empire after WWII. The US stepped in after that war, not because we wanted to fix the middle east, but we because we wanted a strategic and tactical advantage over the evil empire that spreads over 9 times zones to the north.

    We backed Saddam and ignored his bad behavior at home all the while encouraging him to fuck with Iran (because we were pissed that our own fucking around with Iran went sour). Eventually, Saddam went out of control and left us with only bad options.

    The real war crimes were committed before I was born or when I was just a youngster. Now we are merely paying to fix the damages we caused earlier. Unfortunately, we breaking more things than we are fixing.

    We have reached a point where the only acceptable action going forward is to say “oops” and then get the fuck out.

    1. We have reached a point where the only acceptable action going forward is to say “oops” and then get the fuck out.

      You could have made the same statement 10, 20, 30, or 40 years ago. I suggest that the only reason you’re making it now is because you’ve personally lived through 10 to 20 of those years and are simply tired of dealing with OPPs (Other People’s Problems).

      Point being that there’s nothing unique about today which makes it clear that “we have reached a point”. You can always move the goalposts. Which is what makes your original “you broke it, you bought it” argument so weak, because there’s no defined end-game within that argument.

      1. . . . because there’s no defined end-game within that argument.

        Which end-game?

        The Soviet Union is gone.

        1. If you say “you broke it, you bought it”, the end game is when you are allowed to sell it and be done with it.

          I have no idea WTF the USSR has to do with that argument.

          1. The US stepped in after that war, not because we wanted to fix the middle east, but we because we wanted a strategic and tactical advantage over the evil empire that spreads over 9 times zones to the north.

            The middle east has always been a proxy for the US/USSR.

            The current situation is about cleaning up collateral damage from that conflict.

          2. Of course, by time we extract ourselves from the middle east, Russia will have devolved into a totalitarian state, and we’ll have to start all over again.

            1. And don’t think for a moment there aren’t leftists just itchin’ for the return of the Soviet Union.

              1. I’ve met people who still think Walter Duranty did a wonderful job.

  25. History has yet to decide the legacy of the Iraq War? Yes, whether is was a gigantic catastrophe for the US, or the complete end of the American economy.

    I am afraid we won’t have to wait a hundred years for the answer.

    1. Iraq cost less than the stimulus.

      1. How many Americans have died because of the stimulus again?

        How many have required artificial limbs and reconstructive surgery because of the stimulus?

        1. How many people can vote because of the stimulus?

          How many hostile foreign dictators brutally oppressing their people and playing three-card monte with WMD did the stimulus remove?

  26. To the neo-con commenters who think they are libertarians:

    We get enough stupidity and regrettable stances from the Reason writers. Please leave, the boat is full.

    1. A.)I don’t think I’m a libertarian (I agree with many libertarian policies sans foreign policy).

      B.) Please leave the boat? Who made you Captain?

      1. I guess the significance of the phrase “The boat is full” just flew over your head…

        1. Yes, yes it did. Could you elighten me?

  27. We should be trying to bring the dictators of the world to justice, but in a way that does not involve harming innocent civilians. The means must be justified BEFORE the ends are.

  28. The WTC attacks exposed White Guys in Power for what they really are: panicky chickenshits.

  29. Great article Cathy. I submit we already learned some things from the Iraq war:

    1) The Left has a long record of fitting events to their narrative, as opposed to taking a facts based view of the world. The Iraq war, on a larger scale than even Katrina or the latest Obama fiasco or the oil spill signifies a new and ever more alarming hysteria in that regard. They are literally becoming unhinged. The story they tell spells an ever widening gulf with reality. It may mean the end of the conventional MSM.

    2) Sanctions are not a good idea. Not only do they impoverish the population (all the argument one may need), their size contributes to international corruption.

    3) It may no longer be possible for the USA to go to war in any traditional sense. Partly because of the narrative in Lesson 1, any armed conflict that does not involve strict self-preservation is going to be demonized beyond all recognition. That may be a good thing or bad thing depending on the circumstances and one’s personal world view. Certainly the argument is less than clear in the long run of human progress.

  30. Only time will tell? Can we go ahead and murder/rape babies then because they might become Hitler? First causes are very important, more so than the justifications allowed through errant hindsight.

    1. I love the “only time will tell” excuse coming from the lips of people who, back in 2003, were claiming that there was no time to let weapons inspections proceed or let the sanctions do their work. They were all about making rash decisions based on incomplete evidence back then; now that it’s themselves being judged, it’s something that has to wait 50 years.

  31. Right or wrong, the war was made necessary by Hussein’s actions and the U.N.’s inaction. It was a matter of time before Hussein’s belligerence was carried out on another neighbor. The U.S. is a member of the U.N. and our standing in that body has assigned us certain responsibilities. I do not agree with them, but that is the fact. Otherwise, this organization which has demonstrated repeatedly is more an impotent but polite debate society rather than an organization capable of meaningful actions. Since it was under the oversight of the U.N. in the 90’s that Hussein repeatedly defied one ultimatum after another that the inevitability of war was realized. Just how many times does the U.N. issue an ultimatum before action is taken? Was this the event which assigned the U.N. to irrelevance? If Hussein was not an active participant (which has not been settled one way or the other) in terrorism he was certainly culpable in his tacit approval by doing nothing to stop the activities of terrorists in the region. This is a region of the world with a millenia old record of dysfunction and brutality amongst the various populations based on religion, ethnicity, tribal affiliation and other variations and permutations on these themes. We are painfully schizophrenic about our responsibility as the most powerful democracy on the globe. I recall well the clamor to get out of Iraq because we did not belong in a civil war. Concurrently and from the same source of the original clamor, there were the urgings to get in Darfur where there was a civil war.

    1. Right or wrong, the war was made necessary…

      Now that’s something to chew on.

      No oil, no war. Period. Plenty of evil dictators in the world, and it’s not our job to invade all their countries and “liberate” them. Which they don’t have to worry about as long as they don’t have oil.

      1. We got the oil dumbass.

        1. But if we HAD gotten oil from Iraq, you libs would have hollered bloody murder. No-win either way.

          Yeah, we shouldn’t have gone to Iraq. But we can’t undo the invasion. So quit your bitchin’.

      2. Why was it our job to liberate Europe? We could have negotiated with Germnay.

        1. Germany declared war on the US. The decision to liberate Europe was merely a by-product of beating a declared enemy.

          Iraq did not declare war on the US. The decision to liberate Iraq was part of an ideological desire by the Neo-Jacobins in Washington to export democracy.

          1. So what? Just because someone declares war on you doesn’t mean you can’t then negotiate a peace rather than fight them — or that you can’t defeat and “contain” them as we did with Saddam in 1991.

            And yes, in fact Sadddam did declare war on the U.S on almost a daily basis from 1991-2003.

            1. ARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARF

    2. Shorter version:

      Saddam was an evil dictator who killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. We are democratic and powerful.

      So let’s kill a couple of hundred thousand Iraqis.

      1. They should be grateful that they were killed by the democratic US, the land of freedom, rather than by an evil dictator and his henchmen.

      2. We only killed a few thousand.

        The vast majority of those killed were killed by AQ or other Iraqis. We actually spent most of our effort defending Iraqis.

        Iraq had a civil war every decade. There was no way they could get to a reasonable semblance of democracy without a lot of violence. They’re lucky we were there, or millions more would probably have died.

        1. TallDave writes: We only killed a few thousand.

          A lie. A “few thousand” Iraqi civilians were laid to rest in the first hour of the bombing campaign known as “shock and awe.” Not content with that, US forces went on to bomb the shit out of infrastructure essential to day-to-day life in Iraq– power plants, dams, that kind of thing. It was in all the papers.

          The toll of Iraqi civilians killed is well over a million.

          TallDave writes: The vast majority of those killed were killed by AQ or other Iraqis.

          Your second lie. first see above re “shock and awe.” Al Qaeda had nothing to do with Iraq until the US invasion, at which point they felt compelled to lend aid to those fighting against the US occupation. Al Qaeda is about this (holding thumb and windex finger less than a millimeter apart) big. Obviously, their contribution is dwarfed by that of the US. And to remind the dumber fucks among us (yes, I’m talking about you, Dave) yet another time: SADDAM HUSSEIN HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PLANES THAT FLEW INTO THE WTC.

          TallDave writes: We actually spent most of our effort defending Iraqis

          Your third lie. See above. I’m not above cheap laughs, so here you go: “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” If you don’t recognize the provenance of this quote, get Mommy to explain it to you.

          Iraq had a civil war every decade. There was no way they could get to a reasonable semblance of democracy without a lot of violence. They’re lucky we were there, or millions more would probably have died.

          Your fourth, fifth, and sixth lie respectively. Sorry, you’re simply not worth further comment, except to recommend that you get some help.

          1. Seriously? Do you even know what country Iraq is? Have you read a single article on the war?

            The toll of Iraqi civilians killed is well over a million.

            According to what source did we kill a million Iraqis?? Even the left-wing icasualties project finds only about 100K — and that’s ALL civilian deaths, most of which were targeted by insurgents, who, as you would know if had the SLIGHTEST familiarity with the conflict, made a habit of killing as many civs as they could.

            http://icasualties.org/

            Where do you get this strange idea U.S. troops target civilians?

            Al Qaeda had nothing to do with Iraq until the US invasion

            AQ didn’t attack Saddam’s gov’t? Gee, I wonder why. Maybe because Saddam was funding Abu Sayyaf and generally a big thorn in our side. Anyways, to point out the obvious, why they showed up is irrelevant to the point that the people they killed were obviously not killed by us.

            at which point they felt compelled to lend aid to those fighting against the US occupation

            They weren’t lending a hand, they were 1) taking over and 2) killing Shiites, which made them EXTREMELY unpopular with everyone, pushing the Sunni right into our arms. You may want to Google “Sunni Awakening” before embarassing yourself further.

            “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” If you don’t recognize the provenance of this quote, get Mommy to explain it to you.

            I doubt you know its real provenance. A village was taken over by the VC, and the village leaders demanded the U.S. bomb them out (they knew we would pay for reconstruction). Eventually the officer who gave that quote gave in and had the place bombed, leading to that quote to a journalist, which has been misconstrued as a comment on the futility of the war by the ignorant ever since.

          2. I mean, wow. How do you miss the 10,000 articles about car bombs in Iraq? Did he think the Marines were setting those off?

            Meanwhile, as Cathy points out most Iraqis don’t want us to leave prematurely, and most say the invasion was worth it. Probably because they have some semblance of the rights to vote, voice their opinions, own phones, etc. And GDP has tripled since 2002. And basic services have doubled.

            http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/Centers/Saban/Iraq Index/index20100728.pdf

  32. Perhaps there ought to be an Iraq thread permanently pinned to the top of H&R, so the same decade-old arguments can be rehashed ad nauseum without taking up valuable real estate on the rest of H&R.

  33. A hundred years from now, Operation Iraqi Freedom will rate about a paragraph in the history books. Our future generations will know as little of OIF as we know of the Spanish-American War

  34. Umm…I’m confused, did I accidently go to the National Review instead? At this rate you’ll have a “libertarian” defense of the social security and the new health care plan.

    Let’s see, should libertarians support a war that was not declared by Congress, did not involve a country that was a direct threat to us, and was paid for by increasing the deficit?

    I’m thinking no. I mean, we wouldn’t have even had to go to war with Afghanistan and Iraq if the government hadn’t armed people like bin Laden and Hussein in the first place.

    In a perfect world I guess it would be nice if we could just make other countries do what we wanted by invading them but that works as well as throwing money at the poor to solve poverty.

  35. I’m assuming that Burning Man is the only reason we don’t have a rebuttal from Doherty to this line:

    “the folly _and criminality_ of the war in Iraq is now an _article of faith_…”

    Excellent, even piece.

  36. I’m assuming that Burning Man is the only reason we don’t have a rebuttal from Doherty to this line:

    “the folly _and criminality_ of the war in Iraq is now an _article of faith_…”

    Excellent, even piece.

  37. Right or wrong, the war was made necessary by Hussein’s actions and the U.N.’s inaction.
    No, dear, not even close. Saddam’s actions consisted of brutal repression but that was not enough to invade. If it were, we’d be invading countries every other week.
    It was a matter of time before Hussein’s belligerence was carried out on another neighbor.
    Not even close, in fact further from reality than your first gambit. Saddam had nothing with which to frighten his neighbors. Or us.

    Saddam was a petty tyrant, largely immobilized and being gradually worn down. The UN sanctions imposed a heavy price on Iraq, he was co-operating, for the most part with the UN inspections. He had nothing and neither did his military.
    Bush II could have waited, gathered more international co-operation and eventually taken out Sadddam without an invasion.
    The pope was right about the war: it was illegal. The war was a gigantic mistake that has cost us our treasure and our standing. Recovering from this mistake may never happen.

    1. Actually, the sanctions were massively corrupted and support for them was collapsing anyway.

      The notion Saddam would have stepped down without military intervention cannot be taken seriously. More likely they’d have had another round of bloody civil war with Kurds and/or Shia, the genocide of the Marsh Arabs would have continued, and Saddam’s WMD programs would be back in full swing as he raced the mullahs in Qom toward a nuke.

  38. This article is what I *love* about libertarians.

    For all the hoopla and “Reason” and deep discussions about “free” markets simply scratch the surface and you reveal that you are nothing but a bunch of conservative Republican imperialists.

    Oh, Saddam demanded that we fly halfway around the globe to attack him! We are the policeman of the world!

    Boobs. You’re all a bunch of jibbering, moronic boobs.

    1. I am so sorry to hear about you failing your reading comprehension exam.

      But liberal parents like yours do insist on sending their kids to public schools.

      *sigh*

      1. Piss off, Jimbo. Some of us didn’t cotton to the Iraq war being fought at all.

        Crawl back to MediaMatters or whatever liberal e-rag you hang out on.

    2. Not to mention, corporatist militarist liberal wannabes. No wonder thay can only steal elections. Truman had the Truman Doctrine long before the Bush Doctrine.

  39. Wow, a “libertarian” defends government war. Ridiculous. Reason has reached a new low.

    1. Excuse me but aren’t libertarians all about the individual and freedom? Since when does a libertarian have to conform to group think of the LP to be considered. Fuck that shit, as an individual I’ll think for myself thank you very much.

      1. Government war clearly goes against individual freedom. You can’t be a libertarian and support it. That is impossible. Think for yourself all you want. I’ll continue to choose freedom.

        1. I see, freedom for me but not for ye. I think the Khurds might see it a little differently on what you call freedom.

          Was the Civil War what you call a “government war”?

          Are you pro-choice? If so why? Isn’t that an individual being aborted or if allowed to grow would they all just be the same in your mind. The tiniest minority on the planet is the individual but I see many libertarians supporting the right to kill them. Hypocrisy knows no bounds.

          1. The Kurds are responsible for their own freedom and taking freedom away from me just to support Kurds does not increase freedom. If you want to use your freedom, your life and your wealth to support Kurds then go do it. Don’t take my freedom and put me to war and put me and my children into debt just to support others.

            1. You didn’t loose any freedom because of Iraq and I didn’t send U.S. troops there. George W. Bush sent them and an overwhelmingly bipartisan congress gave him the power to do so. Take it up with them.

              1. With that said once our troops are sent into harm’s way if you don’t want to support them please feel free to stand in front of them.

        2. I always wonder how strict this idea is.

          Was it wrong to defend S Korea?

          Should we have negotiated a separate peace with Japan and Germany, even if it meant ignoring the millions they were killing in Asia and Europe?

    2. There is nothing unlibertarian about war. Libertarianism ends at the water’s edge, as one of its basic assumptions is the existence of one and only one legitimate initiator of force, a condition that does not hold in the international arena. Thus libertarianism is inapplicable to foreign policy.

      That said, the Iraq war was incredibly stupid and fairly immoral for other reasons.

      1. “””Libertarianism ends at the water’s edge”‘

        Where is that written down?

        And I guess you also don’t mind if your money is taken by the US government and used to support communist and socialist polices as long as its overseas?

  40. When did Cathy Young morph into a neo-con woman? She used to be readable. This twaddle belongs in the “Weakly SubStandard”.

    1. Let’s see, it must have sometime in late 2001, say, September?

  41. History’s verdict??? Are you kidding me? I suppose it would depend on who the history is written by. I’m pretty sure the views of the millions of Iraqis who died, became refugees and lost everything would differ considerably from those of beltway type “historians”. The most powerful military in the history of the world invades and occupies a half assed country for no legitimate reason and decimates it and there’s some debate about the legitimacy of it. How much farther up your ass can your head possibly be? It’s like those jackasses who still want to argue that Vietnam was a just/legitimate war and our only mistake was not “winning”.

    1. I’m sure the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese sent to re-education camps agree with you.

      After all, if they disagreed, they probably didn’t survive the camps.

  42. Finally, a decent article on Iraq from Reason! Thank you Cathy!

  43. “It’s too early to know history’s verdict.”

    Well, a copy of a history book fell out of a time rift from 2050 and into my lap the other day, and this is what it said about the architects of Iraq II:

    “They were a bunch of retarded fuckheads who were first up against the wall when the revolution came.”

    The book is quite enlightening reading and worth a sore crotch. No sports results, sadly.

  44. The Bush case for invading Iraq was based on the assertion that Iraq had mass destruction weapons in hand or were soon to be available. True, this apparently turned out to be not the case. But the true causus belli here is that by expelling weapons inspectors from the country, as well as flying certain aircraft at times and targeting U.S. planes with anti-aircraft radars, Iraq was in violation of the 1991 ceasefire agreement. Therefore the Desert Storm alliance was within its rights to renew hostilities. Whether this was desirable or not is another issue, but a valid causus belli existed.

    I did and do support the invasion to 1) finally eliminate the festering sore of enforcing the Iraq sanctions regime and 2) strike a blow against a hostile regime in a demonstration of resolve after 9/11 regardless of that regime not being involved in that particular incident. I did and do not support the tying up of our army in performing a constabulary, nation-building role.

    1. “”””But the true causus belli here is that by expelling weapons inspectors from the country, as well as flying certain aircraft at times and targeting U.S. planes with anti-aircraft radars, Iraq was in violation of the 1991 ceasefire agreement. Therefore the Desert Storm alliance was within its rights to renew hostilities. “””

      Nope, the no fly zone was not part of the cease fire agreement nor part of any UN declaration. The no fly zone was something that the US and Britain imposed on Iraq on their own.

  45. There is no ‘verdict of history’. For the Victorians, the Romans were a wonderful example of how a good empire should be run, and the kinds of goods it should leave behind. For the 20th century Marxists, the Romans were militarist oppressors of the weak who smashed out of existence localism and anything they didn’t understand or like.
    The freedom of 26m people is as nothing for many lefties, because it was brought about by the Hated Great Satan. For those who value all freedom, it is of course a cause for rejoicing.

    1. Unfortunately for those who love America, Iraq might be its death knell.

      1. Irrespective of the merits and faults of OIF, if we could afford Korea we can easily afford Iraq.

        1. Except that the Korean war was actually in defense of an ally…and the US economic state was quite different in 1950 than it is now.

          1. I’m not sure why “in defense of an ally” matters; if you ask the Kurds they will happily tell you the war was in their defense, probably while waving an American flag and begging for a permanent military base.

            The economy was mostly a lot smaller then.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..01582.html

            Last year, spending in Iraq amounted to less than 1 percent of the total economy — about as much as Americans spent shopping online and less than half what they spent at Wal-Mart. Total defense spending is 4 percent of gross domestic product, the figure that measures the nation’s economic output. In contrast, defense spending ate up 14 percent of GDP at the height of the Korean War and 9 percent during the Vietnam War

  46. You’ve written yet another great article, Young.

  47. There was never a compelling US Nat’l Security threat from Iraq. Accordingly, it was and remains a failure from Day One.

    1. Wow! You say that with such certainty, now tell us again why you can.

      I love how idiots make the claim there were no significant WMD while ignoring the reason they can make that claim with such certainty. Dammit, if only the rest of the world had been so certain before the coalition removed Saddam.

      1. There were many, many people in a position to know who were saying there were no weapons and that Saddam was no threat. It it disingenuous in the extreme (though it continues to happen) that people use the excuse that the “everybody” thought Saddam had weapons. It’s horse shit and intended to justify support for the unjustifiable.

        1. True there were some but there were more on the other side, nonetheless that’s the reason Saddam was removed. The uncertainty in the post 9/11 world.

  48. This dictator that everyone seems so happy to have removed from Iraq received money, weapons, and supplies from the US government in the 1980’s when we were playing favorites against Iran. I love how our government is all too happy to claim that it can “solve” problems that it helped to create in the first place.

    1. They didn’t get much from us beyond a pat on the back for containing the nutters on Iran and maybe some backdoor loan guarantees. Less than 2% of their arms came from us, in a period in which Iraq was for a time the world’s largest arms importer.

      You might have noticed all that stuff we blew up in 1991 and 2003 was not of U.S. makes and models.

    2. As much as I hated Iraq War Part 2, I’m also tired of this old chestnut.

      Yes, LL, alliances change over the years. Sometimes we war with someone who was once an ally to whatever extent. We don’t know at the time we are allies that we will be enemies down the road. Psychic powers, alas, do not exist outside of the magical 20/20 hindsight of Monday Morning Asshats.

      Do you ever complain that we are now allies with former enemies such as Japan and Germany? My goodness, the country just can’t make up its mind, can it?

      Feh…

      1. THANK YOU

  49. the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. To date, 4,427 American service members have died in the war. More than 100,000 Iraqi civilians are estimated to have died as well. so its time to stop all these crimes and wars.

  50. What a disgusting article. Saddam might have killed a few more Iraqi’s if we left him in power, so we go kill nearly a million, create 2 million homeless, and put the Shiite’s in power? Go back to RCP and have more mouth congress with the joint chiefs of staff fascist fellater.

    1. Well, let’s see: Saddam killed a million or two, the insurgents killed maybe 100K, we killed a few thousand.

      Saddam created millions of refugees, who returned when we removed him. The insurgents created millions of refugees, who are now returning. GDP has tripled since 2003, and basic services have doubled.

      Can’t help you with your anti-Shia bigotry, but if it’s any consolation Allawi’s secular slate took the most seats last election.

  51. Bollocks

  52. OK, let me explain to you idiots why invading Iraq was libertarian.

    a) George Bush enacted the biggest tax cut in living memory.
    b) The Iraq War was George Bush’s idea
    c) The Iraq war was a necessary condition of tax cuts.

    Simple really.

  53. Its not too early to know we were lied into Iraq for profit.And its not to early to know Iran ,China and Russia are all stronger because of it.We are a bankrupt paper tiger and they know it.

  54. Best Reason article on Iraq I’ve read. Sadaam had to go. Being secular does not magically prevent someone from helping whackjobs hurt America, as Sadaam certainly did in the first WTC attack. He had a hate on after America’s first (and IMO strategically stupid) decision to launch Desert Storm and them worse yet leave him in power, but the nation building was stupid too. We should have invaded Iran as well, which is the true epicenter of anti-American terror.

    1. The true epicenter of anti-american terror is Saudie Arabia not Iran.Next down the line would be Pakistan.Both countries we support politically and financially.

      1. Those are both good points, but Iran does way more terror funding so it’s higher priority to invade.

  55. The judgment of history: the Iraq “war” undermined the Constitution–no declaration by Congress and unprecedented ursurpation of power by the “President”: torture (without accountability), nation destroying, sewing the seeds of future blowback and future religious “crusades” mounted by both sides. Finally, economic triumph of the war profiteers over civil economy.

  56. Because it takes only a smile to make a day seen bright.

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