History is a funny thing. Pretty quickly after the 2003 U.S. invasion
of Iraq in search of W.M.D.s that never existed, the country collapsed
into sectarian conflict and terrorism that has since ended 4382 American lives
, killed an estimated 50,000 Iraqi civilians
, displaced 4 million Iraqi refugees
, and imprisoned thousands of Iraqi detainees
. But, on Sunday, Iraq held national elections that by all accounts have been a success
. This has been enough of a reversal for some commentators to declare "mission accomplished
and argue that it proves the invasion of Iraq was a great idea after
all. Unsurprisingly, this particularly impatient bit of historical
revisionism has critics in an uproar.
- Mission Accomplished The cover of Newsweek declares triumphantly,
"Victory At Last," over a photo of President Bush next to the infamous
"Mission Accomplished" banner. In the actual article, a team of
Newsweek reporters write
more much tepidly, "something that looks mighty like democracy is
emerging in Iraq. And while it may not be a beacon of inspiration to
the region, it most certainly is a watershed event that could come to
represent a whole new era in the history of the massively undemocratic
- Invasion Was Right, Worthwhile The New York Times' Thomas Friedman writes,
"Former President George W. Bush’s gut instinct that this region craved
and needed democracy was always right. It should have and could have
been pursued with much better planning and execution. This war has been
extraordinarily painful and costly. But democracy was never going to
have a virgin birth in a place like Iraq, which has never known any
such thing." He dismisses criticism that the invasion has not been
worth its toll.
- Iraq War Was Like Toppling Hitler The Financial Times' Nigel Biggar deflects criticism
that the Iraq invasion was "morally flawed" by the scores of civilian
causalities and dishonest rationale. "Most just wars are flawed. Take
the war against Nazi Germany." Biggar says that both wars endured
significant casualties in the service of a difficult but necessary
fight against evil. Therefore, invading Iraq was basically the moral
equivalent of defeating the Nazis.
- Republicans Led to 'Victorious' War Fox News' Sean Hannity says of the Iraq war, "The good news is that we were victorious in spite of the Democrats' efforts and attempts at preventing victory."
- Are You People Nuts? Salon's Glenn Greenwald balks. "It was only a matter of time before American elites abandoned their faux regret over Iraq. For tribalists and nationalists, America can err in its execution but never in its motives," he writes. "It's nothing short of nauseating to watch those responsible glorify
what they did without weighing -- or, in Friedman's case, affirmatively
dismissing as irrelevant -- the extreme amounts of death and suffering
that they caused, all based on false pretenses."
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