Tuesday, June 29, 2004

a conservative hedges

Andrew Sullivan has been very gung-ho about the Iraq war, and while I love his blog, I have to disagree with him here. I was against the war and was never convinced by the moral arguments in its favor (though I am, as I've said before, in favor of continuing the project we've begun, because we can't simply abandon the place). Now Sullivan is quoting überconservative William F. Buckley, who says:

With the benefit of minute hindsight, Saddam Hussein wasn't the kind of extra-territorial menace that was assumed by the administration one year ago. If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war.

For Sullivan, this completely misses the point. What about all those happy Iraqis? I'm sure there are plenty who remain happy. In fact, this blog is very encouraging about the future (and while I'm not a regular reader of this blog, I found this post touching). But when you zoom back to look at the overall picture, it's very mixed. As my buddy the Air Marshal asks, Has this been worth it? I don't know. If you focus relentlessly on "liberation" as a concept, then I suppose the answer's a clear "yes": Iraq has been liberated from the tyranny of Saddam. But if you stop fetishizing the concept of liberation and look instead at the actual situation (to the extent we can know what that is), an honest person will be hesitant, I think to offer a clear, firm "yes."

As things are, it'll be years before we have the perspective we need to judge any of this properly. In the meantime, be careful out there.

But don't get all somber! Join FUCK!


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