Sunday, September 24, 2006

War In Iraq Hinders the "War" on Terrorism

Reports the Post.

I know I've said this lots of times, but here goes again:

In early 2002, I was starting to think I was crazy. None of the arguments being made for invading Iraq made even a modicum of sense. Even those of us on the outside could clearly see that the arguments didn't add up, that the intelligence reports didn't ring true, and that the case had every appearance of having been cooked. "Get bin Laden" we said. "Finish Afghanistan" we said. "Iraq is irrelevant" we said. "It's just going to make things worse" we said.

(And some of us, like me, said "Sure, Saddam deserves a big fat ass-whupping, but right now is a prohibitively bad time to do so...the worst time imaginable, in effect.)

But, gosh, the other side just sounded so certain...which is, of course, the way of extremists. Immune from evidence, starting with their conclusions and assembling premisses after the fact, they give the appearance of knowing what they're doing. (Peirce calls this "the method of tenacity.") They have almost no sense of their own fallibility...and, sadly, that tends to cast the rest of us into even more doubt. If I had a motto, it might well be to err is human...or, rather, to be human is to err. Back then I spent way too much time worrying about whether I was wrong and insufficient energy pointing out that the vast prepoderance of evidence indicated that they were wrong.

But, as it turns out, they were wrong.

They were, as one of my colleagues likes to say, wrong about everything. Bush and company have, so far as I can tell, not been right about a single major thing concerning terrorism since 9/11. Had, say, Gore or Wes Clark been president, OBL and al Qaeda would be something like a dim memory or a joke by now. Instead, the president than whom none more incompetent can be conceived has botched everything at every turn, and inflated a relatively minor, relatively manageable threat into a firestorm of a clash of civilizations.

In a fully rational country, a president of such monumental stupidity, ignorance, pig-headedness and incompetence would have been forced out of office by non-stop protests and 0% approval ratings. And yet here the Bush dead-enders continue to repeat their mantras...we are winning...the decisions were right...Bush is good....Bush is wise...Bush is just... It's hard enough to assert that he's minimally competent with a straight face...but some of these people--apparently immune from empirical evidence--continue to insist that he's (to use their word) "Churchillian." The mind reels.

Well, now the best evidence available to us confirms what many of us had concluded long ago: that the war in Iraq is, relative to the goals of the "war" on "terror", counterproductive in the extreme.

Anyone with more patience than I have might want to go out counting how many right-wing blogs will, once again, conclude that this just shows that facts and logic have a liberal bias. (I'd start by checking, say, Instapundit and Scrappleface.) Outside the "reality-based community," anything goes, logically speaking. War is peace. Freedome is Slavery. Ignorance is strength, etc., etc., etc.

So the good news is: we weren't crazy. What looked like a stupid, unjustified, and counter-productive war has, in fact, turned out to be a stupid, unjustified, and counter-productive war.

The problem, of course, is that that's also the bad news. It would be a lot better for the world if I'd have turned out to be crazy rather than right..

2 Comments:

Anonymous matthew christman said...

Damn, Winston. That's pretty shrill. You're going to have to write a post blaming Atrios for the Kennedy assassination to balance it out.

1:55 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I'm not saying he did it, but I will say that I haven't seen any pictures that show that he WASN'T on the grassy knoll...

10:04 AM  

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