Apr 122003

Our victory in Iraq demonstrates several propositions:

  • The military knew what they were doing. I suppose it’s logically possible that a different plan would have achieved even better results, but with Coalition deaths around 150, Iraqi civilian deaths at well under 1,000, and the war essentially over in three weeks, it’s hard to imagine how. Never, as many others have pointed out, has an opposing force been more careful with the lives of enemy civilians, and even soldiers, than the enemy itself. Quagmire? What quagmire?
  • The Iraqis prefer us to Saddam. Well, duh. You would have had to be insentient to believe anything else in the first place. And anyone who can remain indifferent to the Iraqis’ overwhelming joy at the end of Hussein’s regime or scold them for lifting a few souvenirs from his blood-soaked palaces is morally depraved.
  • Iraq will be better off. Cf. Afghanistan. We still have no idea what the government will look like in Iraq, but really, it can’t be worse. The word “liberation” is fully justified.

    It does not, however, demonstrate that invading Iraq was a good idea in the first place. I think it was, and recent developments have done nothing to change my mind. But even as the bankruptcy of the anti-war left becomes apparent, the best arguments against the war retain their force. First, it will massively increase the size of the federal government, as all major past wars have, war being the health of the state (Arthur Silber has been making this point tirelessly). Second, we are letting ourselves in for years of foreign garrisons — although I can think of a few troops in, say, Germany that we can spare. Finally, Iraq is just our opening salvo in the Middle East, where Iran and Saudi Arabia are even more serious troublemakers, and how we deal with those countries remains to be seen.

    Just be a little careful with the “I told you so’s,” is all I’m sayin’.