This is helpful. One-time Iraq War supporter Andrew Sullivan spells out quite clearly where and how he was wrong, and I think it’s a useful tool for all war supporters out there still clinging to their delusions. There are many good points in this post, but I’ll highlight this portion in particular:
Even if, in a decade or so, we see something approaching a normal society in Iraq (which would be the first time in centuries), I will still have been fantastically wrong…To have embroiled ourselves in a large, open-ended, $3 trillion occupation of a country that is clearly no longer a country, and to trap the bulk of the military in that theater while threats proliferate globally, and to have no viable exit strategy ever: this is a colossal, historic error. And all this holds even if it turns out in the very long run to have made Iraq a more normal society than it was under Saddam.
I still hope passionately that this will be seen as a long-term not-catastrophe – or maybe even something better. But I cannot see the last five years as evidence for much optimism on that count. And, while one can and should be grateful for some minimal counter-insurgency competence from Petraeus this year, I’m not going to extrapolate madly from the last five weeks.
It’s still hard for me to believe that so much was ignored before the war began, from the history of Iraq all the way to the exit strategy for this occupation; how do you not know or weigh any of these things before starting a military operation? Or do you just ignore it? That is, apparently, what so many did. (Added: I am speaking of politicians and masters of war here who approved and allowed this to happen; that so many American people silently agreed to this war is an entirely different subject, but no less maddening.)
The Booze Cabinet stands firmly behind its opposition to this war from its earliest days.