Christopher Hitchens reflects on the benefits (and costs) of the IWE:
""""""A much-wanted war criminal was put on public trial. The Kurdish and Shiite majority was rescued from the ever-present threat of a renewed genocide. A huge, hideous military and party apparatus, directed at internal repression and external aggression was (perhaps overhastily) dismantled. The largest wetlands in the region, habitat of the historic Marsh Arabs, have been largely recuperated. Huge fresh oilfields have been found, including in formerly oil free Sunni provinces, and some important initial investment in them made. Elections have been held, and the outline of a federal system has been proposed as the only alternative to a) a sectarian despotism and b) a sectarian partition and fragmentation. Not unimportantly, a battlefield defeat has been inflicted on al-Qaida and its surrogates, who (not without some Baathist collaboration) had hoped to constitute the successor regime in a failed state and an imploded society. Further afield, a perfectly defensible case can be made that the Syrian Baathists would not have evacuated Lebanon, nor would the Qaddafi gang have turned over Libya's (much higher than anticipated) stock of WMD if not for the ripple effect of the removal of the region's keystone dictatorship. """""
At least Hitchens, however jaded, grants that War is hell. That slice of RealPolitik--the machiavellian gambit-- probably offends many sentimental leftists (most of whom never bothered with the finer points of the Robb-Silbermann report). Regardless, the IWE could conceivably result in some good, and the furthering of democracy (and it might be recalled that Hitchens, to his credit, pointed out the BS of the Lancet report a few years ago). The IWE, while hardly a cakewalk, was not a 'Nam.
CH's assertion earlier in the essay that "we were not lied to" also important; that's not to say that we here at Contingencies buy it completely, nor have we ever blessed BushCo, or the GOP (in the words of another great political thinker, Matt Stone of South Park, "I hate conservatives, but I really fucking hate liberals.") Really, we are not attached to the dogma of links oder rechts, and grant that Hitchens could be
The ugliness of the IWE may hinge on the potential mendaciousness on the part of Bush admin.: alas, that's part of spectator democracy--DNCocrats are every bit as capable of mendaciousness. Apart from some Stockholm-like tribunal putting the entire US Govt on trial (not just the "Bush-Cheney regime," as most dimwitted, narcissistic gangsta-crats assert), however, little else can be done but to count the stacks remaining at the table, and prevent the Obama-gang from enacting their bogus retaliation.