Sen. Feingold Seeks Censure Of Bush For NSA Intercepts | Main | Thinking About A Revolution, In Iran
March 13, 2006

The "To Hell With Them" Hawks

Powerline quotes and critiques a Rich Lowry article in National Review (paper version only, so here's your chance to get a taste of it if you're not a subscriber).

Basic idea: There is a schism now between hawks. There are those who still embrace the idea of democratizing the Middle East.

And there are a growing number of those who once supported that idea who now say "The Hell With Them" all, let them rot.

I have to say that I was only a tepid supporter of the democratization project. It sounded good in theory, but I couldn't really get on the bandwagon of calling liberals "racists" for suggesting that democracy would have a hard time taking root in the bloodsoaked soil of the Middle East. My inclinations in this regard tend to be punitive and Jacksonian, not ameliorative and Wilsonian.

There's one big difficulty with the "To Hell With Them" position, though: It's a political disaster for Bush and American foreign policy.

As common wisdom now holds that Saddam did not have WMD's, was not a threat, and had no ties to Al Qaeda (all very dubious propositions, but accepted, I think, by a majority of Americans and certainly a great majority of the world's population), there is only one real remaining victory condition for a successful Iraq war: the transformation of the country into a functioning, peaceful semi-democracy which respects pluralism and human rights.

The "To Hell With Them" brigade, of which I could see myself joining had other victory conditions been more clearly met (finding and seizing WMD's, proving close connections between Saddam and bin Ladin of the sort the media would actually acknowledge), would essentially be calling for an acknowledgement of failure in Iraq were we to simply let the psychopaths butcher each other and let the country descend into civil war.

So, alas, we have to stay and fix this fucked-up country if we are to preserve American honor.

That's not the most tangible reason for continuing to fight a war, however. In fact, it's gotten us into trouble before.

I wouldn't say the project to create a stable, peaceful Iraq is doomed. Things may well work out. The threat of a civil war is frightening not only to Americans, but to the Sunnis who continue to support the terrorist insurgency, and they may recoil from the coming horror they are about to inflict on themselves at the last moment.

I have to admit, though, that if I knew the country were to be in this sort of shape this long after the invasion, I think I would have objected to the ground-troops option and supported instead a sustained airstrike campaign designed to simply destroy Saddam's ability to control his country. And then to let the inevitable civil war that would follow sort everything out.

In other words, if civil war is inevitable anyway, why have our boys in the thick of it?

I don't know that civil war is inevitable. It may yet be avoided. But if civil war does break out, I can't see how our invasion and attempts to rebuild the country can be viewed as useful.

digg this
posted by Ace at 03:03 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
t-bird: "[i]Russian: Yob tyovu mat. [/i] Spanish hello: ..."

Christopher R Taylor: "[i]IMO Russia is in the Robber Baron phase of Capi ..."

Gem: "6 She's a pretty Ginger. No way she's Russian. Po ..."

platypus, gg channel: "Didn't she become a missionary or something? ..."

Mr Aspirin Factory: "The CEO of Mylan Labs (epipens) is Joe Manchin's d ..."

Christopher R Taylor: "[i]Russian: Yob tyovu mat. [/i] Privet. Use pr ..."

The Mole People: "'If'n ya want to know you'll just have to come.' ..."

BurtTC: "Pretty? I'm pretty sure that's a dude. ------- ..."

bluebell: "The best clip was this Mark Warner w/ spittle hang ..."

Miklos, optically observing: "The best clip was this Mark Warner w/ spittle hang ..."

grammie winger: "Goodnight Farmer. ..."

Tom Servo: "IMO Russia is in the Robber Baron phase of Capital ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64