I think ^(link) therefore I err

Monday, April 17, 2006

Iraq in General

I've said it before. Pre-war we never thought Saddam HAD nuclear weapons or that he planned 911 or that he was an immediate threat. However it was post-911 and this was now a different world and Saddam did a lot of bad stuff and gave everyone every reason in the world to think he planned on doing more. Robert Kaplan in the LA Times this morning remembers.
The description:
To know a totalitarian regime abstractly is different from knowing it intimately. Iraq in the 1980s was so terrifying that going to Damascus from Baghdad was like coming up for liberal humanist air. People talked furtively in Syria; in Iraq, nobody breathed a syllable of opposition. The whole country was like an illuminated prison yard. I was emotionally affected. Recent events make it easy to forget just how bad Iraq was back then.

Before 9/11, maintaining the "no-fly" zone over Iraq was costing a considerable amount. It was a significant distraction for the U.S. military, and it seemed to have no end in sight. Hussein's obstruction of the work of United Nations weapons inspectors over the years indicated a presumption of guilt, especially as there were weapons' stockpiles unaccounted for, and he already had a record of using them. After 9/11, no chances could be taken.

Support (from a Democrat):
As for myself, because of the way the WMD argument intersected with the humanitarian one — buttressed, in turn, by my own memories of Iraq — there was never any chance that I would not have supported the war. Because Hussein's misrule was beyond normal dictatorship, even someone like me, skeptical about spreading democracy, felt it justified to remove him.

I understand not supporting the war at the beginning, but we supported this war. It needs support to the end whether you support Bush or not. The Iraqi's deserve as much.

My most recent searing, first-hand impression of Iraq, from last December, is this one: one town and village after another getting back on its feet, with residents telling American troops not to leave.