Friday, October 20, 2006

Sorry Jonah but You Are Wrong

Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online, who maybe my favorite columnist ever, has a new column out stating the war in Iraq was a mistake.
Truth is truth. And the Iraq war was a mistake by the most obvious criteria: If we had known then what we know now, we would never have gone to war with Iraq in 2003. I do think that Congress (including Democrats Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Jay Rockefeller and John Murtha) was right to vote for the war given what was known — or what was believed to have been known — in 2003. And the claims from Democrats who voted for the war that they were lied to strikes me as nothing more than cowardly buck-passing.
Did not think I would ever say this but Jonah Goldberg is wrong.

Saying the war was a mistake strikes me as saying President Bush lied about WMD. President Bush did not lie because he did not know there were not WMD. Now I have heard a number of times about UN inspectors and allied troops finding what should be classified as WMD but the existence of WMDs or lack of is an argument for another day. If we went to war for the right reasons, which I believe we did, through the proper channels, UN resolutions, how can that be a mistake? Now if the UN resolution had said Iran instead of Iraq and we took a wrong turn at Kuwait, that is a mistake. Feel free to point out mistakes in intelligence or planning or how we are fighting a war with 2 arms tied behind our back but going into Iraq and taking out a brutal dictator in order to install a democracy was not a mistake.

Now as Jonah says, if we had known at the time what we know now we would have not voted to go to war and I agree with him. That does not make it a mistake that we went, that just shows that we as a country do not have the will to do the right thing in the face of unspeakable evil. A mistake is knowing full well what is happening to the North Korean people and letting millions suffer. That is something that 2 or 10 or 50 years from now, whenever the world finally gets serious about human rights, we will look back at the incredible suffering of the North Korean people and all agree that waiting so long to do something was a mistake.

Jonah goes on to say that even though he feels the war was a mistake, we should not simply up and leave.
I think we should ask the Iraqis to vote on whether U.S. troops should stay.

Polling suggests that they want us to go. But polling absent consequences is a form of protest. With accountability, minds may change and appreciation for the U.S. presence might grow.

If Iraqis voted "stay," we'd have a mandate to do what's necessary to win, and our ideals would be reaffirmed. If they voted "go," our values would also be reaffirmed, and we could leave with honor. And pretty much everyone would have to accept democracy as the only legitimate expression of national will.

Finishing the job is better than leaving a mess. And if we can finish the job, the war won't be remembered as a mistake.
While I think that is a great thing to do, my hope is we finally get serious with Islamic extremists, take the gloves off and let the American military do what it is trained to do, kill bad people and destroy the bad peoples things. No more not returning fire when insurgents are shooting at us from a Mosque for fear of the bad PR if a stay bullet hits the Mosque. Overwhelm them with firepower and keep at it until they ask really politely for us to stop after they agree to put an end to the insurgency.

This strategy puts an end to the Iraq “mistake” and puts Iran and North Korean on notice that they may want to adjust their attitude about those pesky U.N. resolutions they are currently ignoring.


M.A. said...

Just a few points:

1. The point about WMD is not that Bush "lied" but that he clearly didn't care whether there were WMD or not. Remember, Saddam let the U.N. inspectors in under U.S. pressure, and the inspectors requested a few months to look for WMDs. Bush said no, kicked the U.N. inspectors out, and invaded. If he had allowed the inspection to continue, we would have found that Saddam had no operational WMDs and therefore we wouldn't have invaded.

The greatest national-security success of all is when you get everything you want without having to go to war. We could have gotten what we wanted -- Saddam disarmed -- without firing a shot, if Bush hadn't been determined to invade as soon as possible. That's why Bush and Republicans are weak on national security: they preferred making war to upholding America's national-security interests. That's why the Democrats are the only serious national-security party left; for all their faults, they recognize the basic fact that Iraq was a national-security failure, whereas Bush, the worst national-security leader in our history, thinks it was still a great idea.

2. Your proposal for how to "win" simply involves killing more Iraqis, which -- apart from the fact that 600,000 of them have died already and we're running out of Iraqis who are left to die -- will do nothing but worsen the civil war in Iraq and appease Bin Laden (since Bin Laden's talking point is that we're bloodthirsty killers of Muslims; if we "get tough" in the way you want, we play right into Bin Laden's hands in terms of recruiting against us).

3. It's just interesting how PC conservatives have become. Goldberg mildly challenged a conservative PC dogma: that the world is better off because we invaded Iraq. Of course there's no evidence to back that up; in the real world, if we hadn't invaded, Iraq would be better off (many more people have died than were dying before we invaded) and America would be better off. If you can't recognize this basic fact, how can you claim to be serious about national security?

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