Walking Into the Bar
Andrew Sullivan quotes from Dinesh D’Souza1 in a post expressing dismay about the real, cynical reason that the United States went to Iraq in 2003:
Dinesh D'Souza's view, from his book:
A "demonstration project". Suddenly, the otherwise mystifyingly troop-free war-plan makes more sense, doesn't it?
We think Sullivan is playing a little bit of Captain Renault. The fact that we were going to war to shock the Arab world into submission and not simply to “eliminate weapons of mass destruction” was not difficult to figure out to anyone who was paying attention in 2002.
Steven Den Beste (who is no longer blogging but you should read everything in his archives) noted that this was the case way back in 2003 in his “strategic overview” post where he stated that going to Iraq was necessary in order to:
· To make clear to everyone in the world that reform is coming, whether they like it or not, and that the old policy of stability-for-the-sake-of-stability is dead. To make clear to local leaders that they may only choose between reforming voluntarily or having reform forced on them.
· To make a significant long term change in the psychology of the "
· To "nation build". After making the "
Kid Various agreed with this back then. He still agrees with it now. We will not be secure until the dysfunctional Arab traditional culture begins to change.
The fact is that we relied so heavily on the weapons of mass destruction argument because it was the easiest rung on which to hang our hat. Because, of course, everyone knew that
The fact that
Obviously, the strategy of relying on that justification was a horrible mistake. We’ve now lost total control of the narrative.
It doesn’t make D’Souza’s point any less relevant though.
The problem is not that the
Walking into that bar is about demonstrating your power and credibility. If you get beat up, you’ve only demonstrated how weak you are. Even if you are eventually victorious, if you don’t dominate – you lose. If the sheriff manages to beat the local thugs into submission, but suffers a broken nose and cracked ribs and has to take the next few days off recuperating, then he’s lost all credibility both with both the thugs and the townsfolk.
This is basically the situation we are in now and why, instead of victory, we’re fighting for a narrow loss.
The Kid is from the Eliot A. Cohen
WMD, links to terrorism, threats to neighboring countries, vicious human rights violations – these were all valid reasons to go to war (singularly or in concert,) but they were not the primary cause for Iraq.
In order for us to be secure, the dysfunctional Arab traditional cultures must change. And in order to jump start that process, we had to walk into that bar.
Too bad we got thrown through the plate glass window.
Update: This post was originally an email response that Kid Various sent to Andrew Sullivan. The Kid reworked it a little bit and posted it here. And now we find Andrew Sullivan has excerpted the original email on The Daily Dish! First linked by Instapundit, now an excerpt on Andrew Sullivan. Kid Various is on a roll!
1 Kid Various has not read D'Souza's new book so he can't comment on it. However, from the reviews, it seems troubling in that the point seems to be that the reason the jihadists hate us is because of the licentiousness of our culture and that therefore, we're kinda "asking for it." Which would put himself in direct opposition with one of the theses of his outstanding book, "What's So Great About America?" which holds the honor of being the only book that Kid Various has read in which he agrees with everything. In that book, D'Souza notes that the enemy hates us because of our freedoms. Because, as he notes, their societies value "virtue" over "freedom." Better that men act correctly, than that they be free. Of course this freedom entails the freedom to do ill - which is exactly why the enemy despises it. But it seems in his new book excoriating the Left, that D'Souza is kind of agreeing with enemy in saying that our freedom has let us go too far. Again, not sure, because The Kid hasn't read it.