Whenever possible, I refer to the Iraq war as a war of aggression, because that is what it is and has always been. One thing that has often puzzled me about the reflex to declare victory in Iraq, as a Newsweek cover story did recently, is that I don’t know what it could possibly mean to achieve a victory that anyone would want to celebrate as the result of a war of aggression. Tens and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of Americans are dead. Tens of thousands of Americans are injured, some of them severely, and Iraq now boasts one of the highest percentages of disabled people in the world. Millions of Iraqis were turned into refugees or displaced within their own country. All of this has come about because of a war that did not have to happen. All of this has come about because of a war we started.
I don’t think it is particular noble to destroy another people’s country on the basis of unfounded, paranoid fears that its small, economically weak, militarily inferior government posed grave threats to the global superpower. There are many words that come to mind to describe this, but noble is not one of them. It is not especially noble to do this with no meaningful plan for restoring order and governance in the wake of the invasion. There is no nobility to be found in the afterthought of poorly constructing a democratic regime whose elections served as the trigger for massive bloodshed. Likewise, there was not much nobility when our government belatedly recognized its incompetence and failure long after it could do the civilian casualties any good and proposed a plan that would temporarily reduce violence long enough for the previous administration to get out the door.
Mar 14, 2010
For reasons not worth discussing I'm in a lousy mood. But misery loves company, right? So I give you Daniel Larison on the Iraq War: