Sunday, April 08, 2007

Of All Places

[posted by Callimachus]

A keeper:

Whatever you think of the rest of this post, please do not write in to impress upon me the horrors that have descended upon innocent Iraqis since the American-led invasion. I really feel that I know.

I know other things too, though. Maybe it's just the contrarian in me, but it is these other things that I feel the need to stress, especially to those who are now reveling in their rightness about the war. Those who opposed the war seem to feel that they are the perfect opposite of those who sold the war - and of course, in the important sense of the invade-or-not-to-invade question, they are. But in their collective allergy to any fact that may complicate their position; their proud blindness to the color gray, and their fervent faith in their own infallibility, the two sides have always struck me as very much the same.


It's easy to rewrite a very complex story as a dark fairy tale that begins and ends with the evil of Bush and Cheney. This, presumably, is why so many people are doing it. But it's still wrong.

If none of this was ever hard - if the consensus is simply that this whole invasion was always a stupid idea and there was never, ever any reason why any good or intelligent person would have considered it - then all we have to do is elect someone nice and smart, and ignore whatever legitimate factors there may have been to mitigate our certitude. We won't have to think about what, if anything, a dictator can do to compromise his sovereignty in the eyes of the world. We won't have to think about what, if anything, should be done to enforce peace agreements that have been shredded, or international sanctions that have been ignored. We don't have to worry about where, if anywhere, we draw the line between allowing international bodies, such as the U.N., to prevent war, and allowing them to perpetuate, if only indirectly, very serious violence of other kinds.

Finally, what depresses me, and makes me despise so much war criticism even when I agree with it, is that so many of those positing it seem so happy about what's gone wrong. They seem to relish the probability that Iraq will get worse and worse so that they can be righter and righter.

I can't believe it's on Huffington Post, of all places.

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