Monday, March 20, 2006

It depends on how you define nothing.

From Tim Hames writing on his thoughts on an email from the Stop the War Coalition,

The e-mail contained rhetoric that has become familiar, though fatuous. It railed against “lies about weapons of mass destruction”, an “illegal war”, “Abu Ghraib” and the “expropriation of Iraqi resources”. All the words so often employed about Iraq were there, except, of course, “Saddam” and “Hussein”. In any case, the entire episode started in March 2003 was condemned as an “occupation” that has “brought nothing to the Iraqi people except ever increasing death and destruction”.

I suppose it depends on how you define “nothing”. If two elections, one constitutional referendum, a free press, an independent judiciary, greater religious liberty, the lifting of economic sanctions, reintegration into the region and the wider international community count for “nothing”, then nothing is a reasonable assessment. As many leaders of the anti-war movement have nothing but contempt for “bourgeois democracy” and hate capitalism and its manifestations, then, for them, “nothing” is entirely accurate.

The rest of us, however, might reach a more rounded conclusion. When told that Iraq has been a “tragedy”, we might agree but not in the way that those who use that term take it. The tragedy is not that troops went into that land in 2003 but that they did not arrive earlier or in larger numbers. For the first tragedy of Iraq is that this is the third and not the seventh anniversary of its liberation. I am not one of those who thinks that it would have been possible for the US to have pressed on to Baghdad in 1991 after expelling Saddam’s conscripts from Kuwait. The older President Bush opted to take the “UN route” and was thus shackled by its limited mandate.

Read the whole thing. Hames lists all the tragic events. There not what STW would have us think.

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