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Sunday, June 29, 2003

Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh ugh ugh.

My support for the recently "concluded" war n Iraq was never more than tepid, because I never found the evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction all that convincing, and observing the Administration's ham-handed efforts at world diplomacy and complete inattention to Afghanistan after the initial success there, I was not particularly confident that the Administration's post-war effort would be, shall we say, less than impressive. So here we are, with no WMD's in sight, and Iraq degenerating into precisely the type of giant mess that does not bode particularly well for anything: a peaceful democracy in Iraq, a launching point for the neo-con goal of remaking the entire Middle East in our image, a powerful wake-up call for the Arab world, a body-blow to world terrorism…right now, I have to say that it's seeming like more and more of a stretch to think that these goals are achievable.

In private conversations about the impending war, last winter, I would tell friends that I would support the war whole-heartedly if I could just be confident that the world would be a safer place when it was over; or, failing that, if I could at least feel that a significant step had been taken toward making the world safer. Yes, Saddam is out of power; yes, he deserved to be out of power. He was (or is) probably the worst of a whole bunch of evil men in this world. But it seems to me that when one considers removing something, one needs to at least consider what's going to inhabit the newly vacated spot; saying "X is bad; ergo, we must remove X" does little good if X is replaced with a Y that is worse than X was, with no guarantee that Y is just an unfortunate intermediary step to something better.

I'd love to feel confident and proud of what we've accomplished. I'd like to be able to say, "We took on a burden, and the world is a better place for it". But I don't feel I can. Not when Afghanistan is a teetering mess, and we're led by an Administration that literally forgot to request funding in its latest budget for Afghan reconstruction; when Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar are still alive; when Saddam Hussein is presumed alive and in money; when the WMDs that were our primary justification for this war in the first place (and let's not pretend that they weren't) are nowhere in evidence leading to a number of unpleasant possibilities that include American negligence and deceit both before and after the war; and when I seem to be getting up every morning to read a new headline about another American soldier being killed in a series of ambush attacks that seem more and more like a concerted guerrilla war, nearly two months after our President played Top Gun (thus restoring American manhood, as some have said) and declared "an end to combat".

What's unfolding right now is pretty much the scenario that I wanted assurances would not be allowed to develop, if I was to support the war unreservedly. I wish I could see just why George W. Bush's supporters are so confident and proud of their guy and his team, because I'm looking for good news, and I'm just not finding it.

(Here's an excellent post by Tacitus on this matter, and he is no bed-wetting liberal. Original link via Kevin Drum.)

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