Though John Derbyshire, like myself, supported the invasion of Iraq and, also like me, opposed using that invasion as a springboard for democratic nation-building, he now renounces his original support for the invasion. He does so on an interesting basis: that he should have known that the invasion that he supported as an example-making punitive expedition would turn into something else:
So why am I eating crow? Because I think it was foolish of me to suppose that the administration would act with the punitive ruthlessness I hoped to see. The rubble-and-out approach was not one that this administration, or perhaps any administration in the present state of our culture, would be willing to pursue. The universalist dogmas that rule unchallenged in our media and educational institutions have fixed their grip on our foreign policy, too.Speaking for myself, as I did not support the war for punitive reasons, but for sanitary ones—we had to make sure that Iraq had no WMDs—I cannot say absolutely that if I could go back in time I would not support the invasion. I am not at all persuaded that the WMDs—or the capacity to start the quick production of them—did not exist. I would have supported the toppling of Hussein followed by a quick withdrawal. If another dangerous regime came into power, well, as I’ve said, a three-week war once every three years would be a heck of a lot cheaper, both materially and spiritually, than an interminable occupation of a Muslim country.
Unfortunately, this is one of Derbyshire’s columns that, like the Long Parliament (and like our occupation of Iraq), goes on way too long for whatever good it may have achieved. It consists of 1837 words of meandering rumination, 57 of which are the word “I.” That means that “I” appears once every 32 words throughout the article. Though Derbyshire modestly refers to himself as a minor figure in the pundocracy, he uses the first person pronoun as freely as Norman Podhoretz.
(Whoops, there I go again, smearing a fellow conservative. In fact, this is what was once known as criticism.)
An Indian living in the West writes:
At least he is honest and admits he was mistaken in supporting the invasion—which is a lot more than one could say about the rest of the NRO crowd.LA replies:
I hate with every cell in my body getting involved again in this controversy, over which hundreds of thousands of kilobytes have been expended at this site in the past, but the same argument that held for me in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 still holds. Assuming that Iraq had expanding WMD capacities (which everyone assumed was true, which no one had any solid basis for rejecting, and which there is still much reason to believe was true, even though the Bush administration, being liberals, itself has given up the issue), and given the fact of Iraq’s many contacts and acts of cooperation with Al Qaeda, and given Iraq’s opaqueness, I don’t see what alternative we had other than destroying that regime and making sure there were no WMDs there. If someone has a better plan we could have followed that would have dealt with the realities I have just listed, I’d be happy to hear it.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 13, 2006 04:14 PM | Send