How Odom’s anti-Americanism mars his critique of the war

A reader sent me an article by former Gen. William Odom about how to extricate ourselves from Iraq. I’ve never liked Odom, because his arguments against the war were never pro-American arguments but liberal-style, anti-American arguments. And, guess what, no sooner did I read a few paragraphs into Odom’s current article before I came upon this:

The president’s cheerleaders in the run-up to the war now use this theory to rationalize our continued presence in Iraq, and in that way avoid admitting that they share the guilt for the crime of breaking Iraq in the first place.

The “guilt” for the “crime” of invading Iraq?

Oh, that’s a great way to look at it. This is not a responsible approach that considers the pros and cons of various measures we may need to take for our national defense, that helps us rationally consider how to meet such problems as WMDs in the hands of rogue regimes and other threats. This is a reflexive anti-American mindset that sees America as a guilty country, that tells us that an action taken by us for our own defense, an action supported by 77 percent of the American people at the time (meaning that the great majority of the American people share in the guilt, not just the neocons), was a crime.

Indeed, it was precisely this mindset that prevented a useful debate about invading Iraq from taking place, because the anti-war right made the primary issue, not the pros and cons of invading, but the supposed evil of the neocons who controlled Bush.

If anyone has seen writings by Odom on the Iraq war that are not marred by the kinds of cheap shots against America quoted above, please send them to me.

- end of initial entry -

“Snouk Hurgonje” writes from the Netherlands:

LA: “The ‘guilt’ for the ‘crime’ of invading Iraq?’”

I disagree. Gen. Odom talks about the guilt of “breaking” Iraq, not “invading” it. “Breaking” is the result of removing the dictator which kept the tribal, ethnically and religiously fractured country together and having elections. It is a non-liberal critique.

LA replies:

“Breaking” means invading a country and removing its existing government. The very purpose of the invasion—at least as it was discussed for an entire year in advance and was understood by everyone including myself to be the purpose—was to remove Hussein from power so that we could find and remove any WMDs. Therefore when Odom speaks of “the guilt for the crime of breaking Iraq in the first place,” he’s not separating the invading from the breaking, because it is impossible to separate them. They are part of one package.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 28, 2006 09:51 AM | Send

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