The real question is: if we knew then what we know now about the caliber, ethics, competence and integrity of the president and his aides, would we have entrusted them to wage this war? Would we have trusted their presentation of pre-war intelligence? And the answer to that, I venture to guess for my friend as well, is: no. If we had known that war meant sending Iraq into a vortex of uncontrollable violence; if we had known that proving Rumsfeld's theories would turn out to be more important than providing basic law, order and security for the invaded country; if we had known that this president would unleash torture indiscriminately throughout the conflict and destroy America's moral standing in the world; if we knew that there was no post-invasion plan; if we had known all of this - would we still have supported the war? Of course not.
Some of this was our own fault - our own psychological captivity to the trauma of 9/11, our own excessive trust in a president many saw through already, our own good intentions with respect to Iraqis' suffering taken to levels where self-delusion was involved. But some of it, we now know, was also a function of being misled. Quite how we were misled and how consciously is still not entirely clear. But that we were misled is indisputable. Why more war-supporters are not angrier about this deception escapes me.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Sullivan on the War
Andrew Sullivan offers some insightful analysis about war support then and now: