In-Depth

Some Partial, Preliminary & Unfashionable Thoughts Toward Reassessing the 2003 Iraq War: Introduction

To skip this introduction and go directly to read Jeff Weintraub’s In-Depth Analysis “Some Partial, Preliminary & Unfashionable Thoughts Toward Reassessing the 2003 Iraq War – Did Anything Go Right and What Were The Alternatives?” click here.

I was sure in the lead up to the Iraq War that it wouldn’t happen. It seemed obvious to me that it made no sense, and I couldn’t believe that the U.S. would embark on such foolishness. One of my big mistakes, obviously. While Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden and American capacity to wage two wars, one clearly by choice, seemed to be a huge strategic mistake, the war proceeded and escalated, and we have paid.

Nonetheless, I did understand why deposing Saddam was desirable. His regime was reprehensible. I respected those who called for opposition to its totalitarianism, from the informed Kanan Makiya to my Central European friends, Adam Michnik, Vaclav Havel, et al. I even said so at an anti-war rally.

Yet, connecting the means at our disposal with the desirable end of a free and democratic Iraq seemed to me to be an extraordinarily difficult project, and I had absolutely no confidence that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Company could pull it off. How could my intelligent friends who supported the war not see that? I actually had a number of heated public discussions with Michnik about that.

Once begun, I hoped that the intervention would be short and sweet, and hoped that a democratic transition could be managed, but as we now know these hopes were frustrated. From every point of view, the war was a disaster: for the Iraq, the region, the U.S., and the project of democracy, and the way the war was fought, as it was part of a purported global war against terror, compromised American democratic principles. As time has passed many of the early supporters see all this and have changed their judgments, and those who haven’t, such as John McCain, choose not to focus in their speech and action on the question of entrance into the war, but rather on the exit, the so called surge, which they purport explains limited American successes.

But I am curious: what have become of those who as a matter of principle supported the war? And what have become of their arguments? A few brave souls have stuck to their positions. To have a richer understanding of our recent past and to reflect on the challenges of the day, I think it is worth paying attention. Thus, today’s In-Depth post: Jeff Weintraub’s “Some Partial, Preliminary & Unfashionable Thoughts Toward Reassessing the 2003 Iraq War – Did Anything Go Right and What Were The Alternatives?”

To read Jeff Weintraub’s In-Depth Analysis, “Some Partial, Preliminary & Unfashionable Thoughts Toward Reassessing the 2003 Iraq War – Did Anything Go Right and What Were The Alternatives?”click here.

  • http://twitter.com/pait Felipe Pait

    I would say that there existed an argument against the anti-war position that you are misunderestimating. You were correct in mistrusting the Bush team’s competence and good faith. However, the opposite case was being made by equally or more untrustworthy figures such as Putin, Chirac, and (to a somewhat lesser extent) Schroeder.

    In retrospect Bush’s mendacity and inability are overwhelming, but at that point he was yet an untested quantity, and he was supported by Blair, who had a better record. On this basis one might forgive those who gave Bush the benefit of doubt, provided they only did so for a limited amount of time.