Monday, March 25, 2013
Mark Steyn's excellent column on Iraq and America.
Ten years ago, along with three-quarters of the American people, including the men just appointed as President Obama’s secretaries of state and defense, I supported the invasion of Iraq. A decade on, unlike most of the American people, including John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, I’ll stand by that original judgment.None of us can say what would have happened had Saddam Hussein remained in power. He might now be engaged in a nuclear-arms race with Iran. One or other of his even more psychotic sons, the late Uday or Qusay, could be in power. The Arab Spring might have come to Iraq, and surely even more bloodily than in Syria.
At the beginning of the war I believed that we were committed to changing the area profoundly. What happened? We won in Iraq but the Left in this country, the drumbeat of defeat and lies, resistance by the powerful forces of Liberalism combined to take the victory and make it hollow. It made it impossible to follow-through and so we find ourselves today with a Middle East that is on the cusp of becoming an resurgent Islamic Caliphate. All because the Left in the US hated George Bush more than Satan. And did not believe that winning the peace was better than the destruction of Bush.
And so a genuinely reformed Middle East remains, like the speculative scenarios outlined at the top, in the realm of “alternative history.” Nevertheless, in the grim two-thirds-of-a-century roll call of America’s un-won wars, Iraq today is less un-won than Korea, Vietnam, or Afghanistan, and that is not nothing. The war dead of America and its few real allies died in an honorable cause. But armies don’t wage wars, nations do. And, back on the home front, a vast percentage of fair-weather hawks who decided that it was all too complicated, or a bit of a downer, or Bush lied, or where’s the remote, revealed America as profoundly unserious.