I gave four reasons that were sufficient cause. In retrospect I was wrong to do so, not because one of those reasons - the belief that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction - turned out to be false...How quickly the past is assigned to the dustbin of memory! Iraqis may be killing one another at a rapid pace today, thanks largely to Cheney's PsyOps death squads, but it was the massive bombing campaign and the massacre of entire cities like Falluja which really got those body count numbers climbing. Remember?
In place of tyranny we have attained not a reasonable social order but near anarchy, and massive civilian carnage, albeit mostly at the hands of other Iraqis.
But of course we cannot waste time squabbling about such things...
[A]cknowledging a moral blunder in 2003 cannot tell us what we should do now. We cannot turn back the clock. Instead we have to try to estimate the consequences of withdrawal as opposed to fighting on with a new strategy.Stop right there, Mr Morris. You just admitted that you completely failed to predict the consequences of your illegal invasion, but now you want us to listen to your predictions on the consequences of a US withdrawal? Sir, you have no credibility.
What would be the most likely scenarios if the US and its allies withdraw by next year from Iraq? ...
Today's nightmare visions of burgeoning regional wars and Al Quaeda dominance are as fantastic as yesterday's rose-strewn boulevardes. Why is this nonsense still being published in my newspaper?
An idealist concern for the fate of the Iraqi people, and for the neighbouring Arabs and Israelis, and a realist concern for regional stability and Western interests, demands that the Petraeus strategy be tried. The dreadful consequences of the hitherto flawed occupation of Iraq will only be multiplied by a forced retreat in failure.No, sir. Concern for the fate of the Iraqi people is not "idealist". It is just, humane, and ultimately logical (in the end, the Iraqi people, not the neocons in Washington, will decide the fate of their own country).
Similarly, an over-riding concern for regional stability and other identified "Western interests" is not "realist". Such terminology ultimately betrays the greedy, insensitive mindset of those who employ it. We must "succeed" in Iraq in order to guarantee the safety of Moms and babgy girls in shopping malls across the USA. We need regional stability in the Middle East so that SUVs can keep thundering across the Texan plains.
Four years later, the situation on the ground in Iraq has changed, but the mindsets in Washington remain very much the same.