Wednesday, January 17, 2007

My litmus test on Iraq punditry

An interesting phenomena has reared its ugly head of late. There is an entire class of ruling and pundit class desperados who originally supported the invasion of Iraq, but have turned their backs on the mission as it has degenerated into a quagmire.

The main argument posited by this group is that the concept of removing Saddam was justified, but the execution of the occupation by the Bush administration has been horribly botched, leading to disaster. Indeed, considering the Presidents recent attempts to admit error in conducting the war, and his stated dissatisfaction with the outcome to this point, we may even lump the President into this group. It seems that all but the most rabidly die hard near idiotic wingnuts from Mars are still defending the conduct of the war to this point.

I have one litmus test for any possibility that I will consider the judgement of these people in a serous manner going forward. Any person who supported the war in the first place but now wants to be taken seriously as a critic must express the opinion that the invasion was a mistake.

The admission that the original concept was mistaken, even if the admitter was an early supporter of the war, buys credibility in my eyes. It is easy to see how someone could be hoodwinked in the leadup to the war with the Powell presentation and constant drumbeat. I can see the point of those who would say that only after it was proven that there were no WMD, and Saddam was not allied with Osama, that they started to understand the true nature of affairs.

Given this criteria, it is not possible to now take the President or his administration seriously going forward. Indeed unless Hillary Clinton quickly comes to this realization, she is not credible in my eyes either. In fact it may already to late for her on this score. If she does it now, it may look like she did it for crass political purpose alone, not from an ability to independently form the correct judgement.

Let me close this post with a justification for the logic in this post. My point with all this is, how can someone be trusted to accurately form judgements on issues going forward if they prove incapable of admitting a truth that is plain for the entire world to see. If you can not be brought to admit the plain and simple truth, you can not be trusted to form an accurate opinion as to how to proceed going forward. This becomes clear when you consider the disaster we find ourselves in. The administration still claims they would invade again under the same circumstances. And it is that self evident lack of judgement, made even after the truth of the mistakes that led us to invade were revealed for all to see, that led to the mistakes of the occupation and the quagmire we find ourselves in right now.

To tie this to current policy making and punditry, it is that same lack of judgement that leads the President to call for the troop surge in the face of unrelenting opposition by the American people, the world, the Iraqi government and people, his own generals, and the rest of the sentient universe. How delusional does one have to be to get so wrong so often as the President has proven through the course of time? And how delusional does one have to be to think that this time, he has it right? It is akin to having the bus driver who drove this nation into the quagmire of a ditch insist on being the driver of the tow truck to pull us out.

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