Friday, September 29, 2006

Second Thoughts Much?

Andrew Sullivan, who once notoriously wrote that opponents of the invasion of Iraq were "objectively pro-Saddam," today asks:

Are more innocent people being murdered and tortured in Iraq now than under Saddam? I don't want to get into all the policy and moral questions this raises. I'm just interested in an empirical answer.
Gotta love the dispassionate framing of the question, as if considering it were a mere academic exercise. And don't bother him with the "policy and moral questions"!

Why even pose this question if you don't want a complete answer? And if the complete answer is as Sullivan fears (or, really, even if it isn't), doesn't that then invite a cost-benefit analysis as to whether this fiasco was ever a "good" idea? (Sullivan thinks it was, but that it has failed because of the incompetence of Bush and, especially, Rumsfeld.) So then what if that analysis suggests that we shouldn't have invaded? Now, is that an "objectively pro-Saddam" position?

Opposing the invasion of Iraq never necessitated being objectively pro-anything. This isn't just a matter of semantics. Let's not forget, there were U.N. sanctions in place and other pressures that could have been applied to keep Saddam in check. Were invasion opponents against those measures? I don't think so. Being opposed to Saddam and opposed to the invasion were never mutually exclusive. Two "no's" don't make a "yes".

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