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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reviewing the bipartisan justifications for war in Iraq should serve as a stark reminder to brash liberals, confident conservatives, and strong-government types across the political spectrum that government is a foolishly, frustratingly human endeavor, its projects marked by error and hubris, arrogance and incompetence. To put it bluntly: These people do not know what they are doing—and neither, as the fawning media coverage of Bush's war of choice reveals, does anyone else.



Peter Suderman|Mar. 19, 2013 11:01 pm


If you haven’t read Reason’s symposium on the 10 year anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, stop what you’re doing and read it right now. And then when you’re done, if you’re in the mood for some real rage, go read some of the bad old justifications for going to war—left, right, and center. Here, for example, is David Brooks poking fun at simpleton peaceniks in September 2002. Peace! How unserious. Here’s Thomas Friedman at his most dangerously vapid talking up the “terrorism bubble,” as if war is just another exercise in management by self-righteous corporate catchphrase. And here’s The New York Times’ Bill Keller, almost delightedly celebrating his both own surprise and his own moral superiority at discovering that he is a hawk who favors launching a war. In perhaps the most infuriating line of reasoning, Keller notes the multiple divergent justifications for going to war, but dismisses potential worries with the almost-funny assertion that “we are hard pressed to see an alternative that is not built on wishful thinking.”
I should admit that at the time, and for several years after, I too tacitly supported the war. My only excuse (not a particularly good one) is that I was young, naive, and stupid, not yet out of college when the first bombs dropped and not confident that I could make a critical judgement based on the limited information I had; I didn't think the Bush administration's case for invasion was particularly convincing, but I assumed that in a matter as grave as war they knew more than I did, and wouldn't rush into a conflict on flimsy pretexts. Boy was I wrong. So were a lot of people. 
Reviewing the bipartisan justifications for war in Iraq should serve as a stark reminder to brash liberals, confident conservatives, and strong-government types across the political spectrum that government is a foolishly, frustratingly human endeavor, its projects marked by error and hubris, arrogance and incompetence. To put it bluntly: These people do not know what they are doing—and neither, as the fawning media coverage of Bush's war of choice reveals, does anyone else. Quite the opposite, in fact. They all believe fervently that they know exactly what they are doing, that their plans are foolproof, their designs magnificent, their will strong, their aims noble and historic and humanitarian. But what bloody follies like Iraq reveal is that so many of those tasked with either making or explaining the decisions that affect the lives (and deaths) of thousands or even millions are self-deluding fools, oblivious to the consequences of their own power, and their plans and intentions—whether good or bad or indifferent—do not matter when compared with their violent, ugly results. 

9 comments:

  1. Go to the 8:15 mark on the video. Write a poem.

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    1. That was a very hard hitting report. There were documented numbers, and then the estimated numbers. That young fellow was very nice looking, making his living as a political analyst and blogger. He would almost fit into an American University.

      Very well groomed.

      Donate here now.

      What is the point?

      They have a chance to make their country anew, and they are going to blow it.

      You know it, I know it.

      Saddam is dead, who killed many, many, many and they are out of Kuwait, and not going into Saudi.

      We would have been better to spend the time and effort on Iran, perhaps.

      Write a poem here.

      bob





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    2. Remember to donate, to his personal account.

      And if you want a date, with a cool Iraqi, call 1 -800- COOL IRAQI and ask for time, you pay the motel bill.

      bob

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    3. No poem included this morning.

      Bobo

      Delete
  2. Derek Coy hails from Baytown, Texas, and could be a poster child for American veterans of the war in Iraq as they look back and ask: “Was it all worth it?”

    A former U.S. Marine sergeant based in the volatile Anbar province at the height of the conflict, Coy is proud of his service and believes the “invaluable tools" he gained as a Marine will ultimately help him succeed in life.

    But seven years since he left Iraq, he’s fighting a different battle — against anxiety, depression and emotional numbness — the effects of post-traumatic stress.

    March 19, 2008: Speaking on the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, President George W. Bush said that while the costs had been high, "this is a fight America can, and must win."
    "I still struggle, both mentally and physically, with the toll it took on me and countless others do as well," he said.

    Tuesday will mark 10 years since the "shock and awe" invasion and more than a year since the last company of U.S. troops left Iraq. But only about 4 in 10 Americans who fought there — according to a Pew Research Center poll — believe the reasons for going to war justified the loss in blood and treasure.

    Almost 4,500 U.S. troops were killed and more than 32,000 wounded, including thousands with critical brain and spinal injuries. Estimates of the number of Iraqi civilian fatalities are staggering, ranging from 100,000 to 600,000.
    The monetary cost could exceed $3 trillion.


    OOrah

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  3. The room was full of pregnant women with their husbands.

    The instructor said, "Ladies, remember that exercise is good for you. Walking is especially beneficial. It strengthens the pelvic muscles and will make delivery that much easier. Just pace yourself, make plenty of stops and try to stay on a soft surface like grass or a path."

    "Gentlemen, remember -- you're in this together, it wouldn't hurt you to go walking with her. In fact, that shared experience would be good for you both."

    The room suddenly became very quiet as the men absorbed this information. After a few moments a man, name unknown, at the back of the room, slowly raised his hand.

    "Yes?" said the instructor.

    "I was just wondering if it would be all right if she carries a golf bag while we walk?"

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  4. The Iranian ambassador explained that the key to a deal would be international acceptance of what his government sees as its right under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium, even at the 5 percent level needed to fuel power plants.

    According to Bloomberg, US officials have privately said there will be pressure on the Obama administration to accept Iran’s uranium enrichment at low levels under UN safeguards.

    ...

    As Obama makes his way to Israel for a visit where talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu are set to focus on the Iranian threat, the Iranian envoy said that “Israelis every day are threatening Iran” and called on Obama to urge Israel to give up its undeclared nuclear arsenal.

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  5. .

    Sorry, for the recent ad hominems. Thought I was doing pretty well for awhile there.

    Will (once again) try sticking to the haiku, posting stories (like Sam), offering the occasional observation or (non-confrontational)comment, and to the extent possible, taking my wife's dictate to chill. Obviously, a work in progress.

    .

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