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« LandWarrior Wearable Electronics To Finally Be Deployed | Main | Man Bites Dog, In That Sexy-Hot Way »
October 20, 2006

Jonah Goldberg: Iraq War Was A Mistake (A "Worthy Mistake")

I disagree with him on the mistake part, but I can't build up much heat for him abandoning the cause.

Truth is truth. And the Iraq war was a mistake by the most obvious criteria: If we had known then what we know now, we would never have gone to war with Iraq in 2003. I do think that Congress (including Democrats Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Jay Rockefeller and John Murtha) was right to vote for the war given what was known — or what was believed to have been known — in 2003. And the claims from Democrats who voted for the war that they were lied to strikes me as nothing more than cowardly buck-passing.

I think the most important objection to the war is that it's had the opposite effect of what was intended. And I don't mean that it's stirred up jihadists and "created more terrorists;" that's an absurdity. Of course you're going to provoke more of a response when you go to war against global jihadism than when you sit back and just keep on taking it. By the math of the Democratic talking points, we should never have invaded Afghanistan, either -- because that has "created more Pakistani terrorists" than we had before 2001.

They never quite explain how on earth terrorists are "created" by invading the supposedly secular, Muslim-apostate regime of Iraq, and yet weren't created by invading the Unholy Capital of bin Ladinism, Afghanistan.

No, the main problem is what we intended was that Iraq would serve as a cautionary tale to the rest of the Islamic world -- Iran first and foremost -- and a demonstration of American might, and military skill, and determination. And also, that by creating a decent Middle Eastern state, it would show other Muslims a way forward besides senseless, murderous jihad.

The war has, as of yet, done the opposite -- Iran feels less threatened now than it would otherwise be, as our military is still dealing with Iraq and could not possibly go to war with Iran within even 3 or so years. And thusfar we have failed to create an Iraqi democracy capable of functioning without our help, and emboldended them by thinking they can win.

And American determination is shown to be precisely what we'd hoped it to prove otherwise -- a shaky thing, with a country ready to abandon a war at the first sign of difficulty.

But all of that is due to the jihadists' determination to win Iraq, because they know the crucial stakes involved. Iran is funding the insurgency precisely because it knows that, absent an insurgency in Iraq, the American fist may begin drawing back to strike it. Jihadists are determined to prevent a democracy in Iraq because they know it will destroy their power. And they're determined to break the American will because they know that, without an America willing to fight them, they have a free hand in the next thirty years to kill as they please.

Rather than cede their power country by country, they've decided to put almost everything they have into Iraq. So we're not just fighting the War in Iraq; we're fighting several of the wars we'd hoped to avoid by fighting in Iraq. But even though we'd hoped to avoid them, we have to fight them, if the enemy is determined to fight them.

Had we not invaded Iraq, Iranian funding and jihadis from around the world might have poured into Afghanistan instead. I'm not sure we could have avoided this fight by simply not going to war in Iraq -- we just would have had a different battlefield.

Whether the war is "a mistake" depends on its outcome. A victory will be a greivous blow for global bin Ladinism; a defeat their greatest triumph. The enemy has doubled-down in Iraq precisely because they know how important it is to their twisted cause.

If the bin Ladinists believe Iraq is vital to keep in reliably terrorist-friendly hands, it seems to me a pretty good indication that it's a war worth fighting. Even given what we know now.

Thanks to Larwyn.

More... One critic thinks the US is making a mistake by withdrawing into a small number of "superfortresses," and that, if the jihadists are to be defeated, we must go back to deployment all over the country, in Iraq's cities.

Whether that's true or not I don't know. At some point the Iraqis have to fight for themselves, don't they?

digg this
posted by Ace at 03:59 PM

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