Thursday, 24 November 2005

Bush was right, #2

'Bush lied, thousands died.' You can hear that malicious mantra from every direction: from the extreme left, from anti-war libertarians, and from newsreaders and daily editorials all over. "These sentiments are intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible," says Victor David Hanson in response.

While the U.S. military conducts a brilliant campaign to implement democratic reform that is on the eve of ending with an Iraqi parliament, while there has been no repeat of promised 9/11 attacks here at home, and while the entire dictatorial Middle East from Lebanon and Syria to Egypt and Libya is in crisis — baffled, furious, or impressed by a now idealistic United States pushing for something different and far better — our intellectual and political elite harp on "WMD, WMD, WMD..."

Sadder still, they stay transfixed to this refrain either because polls show that it is good politics or it allows them a viable exit from an apparently now unpopular war.

But no, not so fast.

History has other lessons as well — as we know from the similar public depression during successful wars after Washington's sad winter at Valley Forge, Lincoln's summer of 1864, or the 1942 gloom that followed Pearl Harbor and the fall of the Philippines, Singapore, and Wake Island. When this is all over, and there is a legitimate government in the Middle East that represents the aspirations of a free people, the stunning achievement of our soldiers will be at last recognized, the idealism of the United States will be appreciated, our critics here and abroad will go mute — and one of the 23 writs for a necessary war of liberation will largely be forgotten.

In short, they're wrong, and Bush was right. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's reported death is just one more very large mark for the positive side of the ledger. While reflecting on Hanson's arguments, you might want to remind yourself of Christopher Hitchens' Top ten reasons for the war in Iraq from August. "The case for overthrowing Saddam was unimpeachable," said Hitchens.

Linked article: War & Reconstruction -- For Bush’s critics, even hindsight is cloudy.


  1. I think you're fooling yourself on this issue, and I also think that for someone who advocates a libertarian way of being, you're being hypocritical in your support of Bush's illegal war and the continuation of lies leading to more war.

    When a government tells the truth and holds the higher moral ground, there is support for that government, as per WWII. When a government lies and loses the higher moral ground, and continues to lie to attempt to justify their illegal war, then support wanes, and we find more and more people rising up against that immoral and illegally acting government.

  2. Alan, the line on which your thesis hangs is this one: "When a government lies..."

    That question is asked and answered by Hanson in the article: 'No, they didn't lie,' he essentially says, 'they acted on the basis of the evidence before them, and on that basis the evidence was unimpeachable.' I agree with him.

    So there's no hypocrisy at all. A slave pen has been freed (which anyone has the moral right to do) and Iraqis are now free to succeed in their new adventure, or to fuck it up.

  3. "are now free"

    Well apart from the 150,000 occupying troops but hey why let facts get in the way!

  4. If they didn't lie, how do you explain this then?

    The only reason people are talking about the government telling lies is because there is evidence that they did lie. If only they told the truth, and used moral arguments instead of trying to create 'factual' arguments centred on non-existent WMDs, there wouldn't be this kind of backlash. If America chose the higher ground and engaged on a campaign of anti-terrorism around the world for the simple reasons of making the world a safer place, there'd be a lot more support. But it hasn't done that. It lied about the reasons for going to war. The evidence is there. Any claim otherwise is just trying to spin and justify what the claimant knows is wrong anyway. "But but but... they acted on the evidence at the time, and on that basis they did no wrong!" Bullshit.

  5. The critics were wrong, but it doesn't hurt them to be wrong. They were wrong about communism, heck they communists are still there, have never apologised for having supported the most evil regimes around the world.

    So in the end, if the market doesn't punish the MSM for being wrong, they will never ever go mute.

  6. Alan, hindsight is a wonderful thing. But as I said above, the evidence before them at the time suggested Hussein was a risk -- as indeed he was -- and on that basis Iraqis have been freed from his savagery. That's a bad thing?

    Wuld you prefer it if he was still there presiding over a country with terrorist training camps and an industrial structure able to produce materiel that terrorists are able to deliver, and all the while putting his own people through plastic shredders?

    Have another look at Hitchens's ten good reasons for the war in Iraq, and tell me that all ten, taken together, aren't good and valid reasons for this slave-pen to have been liberated.

  7. Berend: way to go off on an irrelevant tangent.

    PC: As Colin Powell said, his speech convincing the nation otherwise was 'the biggest mistake of his life'. He knew the evidence was weak and contradictory. Top UN weapons inspectors could find no evidence of WMD and were doubtfull that any real capability could be developed. This is fact.

    The list of 10 reason consist of unexpected consequences and half-truths. And is: "The training and hardening of many thousands of American servicemen and women in a battle" worth the cost of so many of their lives??

  8. Alan, the US Government and various prominent US politicians have been suggesting Saddam's days were limited for years because of his WMD programme. And Bush acted to prevent Saddam gaining a serious WMD capability. If you are suggesting otherwise, then you are the liar, not Bush. As simple as that.

    Saddam should have been dealt with after the Kuwait invasion, but Bush I and Powell preferred to play to the sensitivities of supposed 'allies' in their coalition; allies which in hindsight were fostering the very Islamist schools providing manpower for the terrorist attacks over the last decade. A bad mistake, and one which Bush II has corrected.

  9. Hey PC (does that mean "poppycock"), why dont you do the honourable thing and go join georgie boy's war criminals and melt some
    civilians with chemical weapons? so you can spread your fucked up version of democracy.

  10. As a true libertarian, I am sickened to see others who claim to be libertarians justifying premptive invasions of other states. This trivially violates the first axiom of libertarianism: Thou shall not aggress. Case closed. It is far to easy for a nation to fabricate lies about the intent of another nation. Obviously, the prescription for this war could justify any aggression by anyone against anyone: The "I was told that he had a gun and wanted to shoot me." defense would be laughed out of any court especially after one finds neither a gun, nor the means to obtain a gun in a reasonable time-frame, nor even a public or private threat.

    Futhermore, there is absolutely no evidence that Saddam supported any Islamic terrorist training camps within his country. Indeed, the only credible support that he offered was monetary compensation to the families of Palestinian fighters, an act in which several other countries such as Saudi Arabia participated. Of course, our illegal invasion has created thousands of "terrorists", i.e., liberty lovers. Indeed, what self-respecting individual would not take up arms against a mendacious and ruthless invader, even if it falsely claims to act in their interest by setting up a scam election and puppet government. The obvious truth is that we are far less safe now. Indeed, there has never been more terrorism in the world as has arisen since our illegal invasion.

    The fact that Saddam was ruthless in his excercise of control is certainly not a reason for war, especially when such alleged acts occurred years prior to the invasion. The US government has never overthrown tyrants for the sake of bettering the world; rather, the federal government has villified those it sought to overthrow only when convenient and cozied up to those bloody dictators as it saw as convenient: Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war, Stalin, etc.

  11. Suffice it to say that I don't agree with you 'fishiferous,' for reasons well canvassed above.

    Quite apart from the specifics covered there, it's important to point out that libertarians ~do~ believe that governments have a role to play in protecting their citizens from the initiation of force, which on some occasions may require pre-emptive action when an objective threat emerges.


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