what a mess

Proving once again that it's one of the best sources for innovative political and social thought, Slate asked several of its best hawks the same question which plagues anyone who bothers to give the land of Ur more than a passing thought: How did I get Iraq wrong?

Consider in particular, Christopher Hitchens's strident declaration that he, in fact, did not get Iraq wrong. He is not claiming some holier-than-thou stance of being always opposed to the Iraq War [one which the author of this blog takes, with some pride, having endured being called "un-American" and "a Communist" for three months in high school], but rather considers the relevancy of this "anniversary" marking aggression in a region that has not been without outside influence, puppetry and gross cruelty for most of the past 20 years.

And that is what I call the Bishop Berkeley theory of Iraq, whereby if a country collapses and succumbs to trauma, and it's not our immediate fault or direct responsibility, then it doesn't count, and we are not involved. Nonetheless, the very thing that most repels people when they contemplate Iraq, which is the chaos and misery and fragmentation (and the deliberate intensification and augmentation of all this by the jihadists), invites the inescapable question: What would post-Saddam Iraq have looked like without a coalition presence?

The dearth of critical, stridently self-analytical, rational thought like this is what got us into this mess in the first place. Hitchens asks the questions, and cleverly provides no answers. At this juncture, perhaps this is the best tactic, as I or anyone else has been hard-pressed to produce a solution for Iraq that is both politically viable and resembles anything close fairness and justice.

[Another nail in the coffin for the idea of the military industrial complex and warfare in general, but I digress. My recently developed opinions of the structure of war and nuclear weapons merits a post of its own.]

For more traditionally journalistic content, The New York Times does a fair job, with excellent photography as usual. Bear in mind that most of the reporting coming out of Iraq is done by undercover Iraqis in constant fear, however.

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