Bay Area Buzz

My blog on the issues facing the Bay Area, California, and the U.S; and of course, some personal observations.

Monday, September 27, 2004

The War in Iraq

Prof. Kerr asks three questions of those who supported the War in Iraq. To answer his questions,

1. Assuming that you were in favor of the invasion of Iraq at the time of the invasion, do you believe today that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea? Why/why not? Yes, I still believe that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea. In making any decision we are faced with risks of action and inaction. I believe the risks in not removing Saddam were and continue to be greater than the risk in leaving Saddam in power. It is easy to count the concrete losses, to the exclusion of the great inchoate benefits. Taking the task through to it's proper completion though, I believe will lead those inchoate benefits to fruition. Importantly, this is a judgment call. This whole process has been. If you don't believe that good will come out of the democratization of Iraq, or that all hope is lost, or that the probability of net positive benefit has diminished beyond the costs, than the result of your equation will come out differently, that's fair enough, perhaps some time, down the road, I will devote a post to why I think things will work out in Iraq and work out well.

2. What reaction do you have to the not-very-upbeat news coming of Iraq these days, such as the stories I link to above? My reactions to the stories are multi-faceted. I certainly don't think the situation in Iraq is perfect. Far from it, I believe there are difficulties in Iraq especially in the 2 provinces consisting of most of the Sunni Triangle. I doubt things are as bleak as they are made to appear however, that the truth is somewhere in the middle. I also reckon, that much of this past month's hostilities and negativity will get worse until November. I have little doubt that a push will be made, to make things appear as bleak as possible leading up to the November election. Outside of that, I reckon Iraq is mostly peaceful, but going through a lot of dynamic issues that could be expected from any people group having gone through the past 30 years of their history. I did not expect this War to be quick, clean, and easy. Not to mention this ought to be expected to be the hardest period of the War on Terror; the first true test of the nation's resolve. I have little doubt that those opposing us, very much want to test our resolve. (NB: This would not be a necessary calculation were not one party generally campaigning on the "wrongness" of the war, if the parties were agreed on the necessity to complete the task right, as happened in the past in most wars, this would not be a consideration).

3. What specific criteria do you recommend that we should use over the coming months and years to measure whether the Iraq invasion has been a success? We have come accustommed to measuring success in weeks and months for many reasons. Perhaps partially because of the tendancy to measure businesses quarterly, or just the natural impatience of men. However, I think taking stock of Iraq will take more than 5 years to determine success. Generally, 5 years down the road, I think we should look to see whether Iraq has successfully rejoined the community of nations. But perhaps the most important metrics are the most hard to measure, perhaps the easiest measure of success will be the strangest test of all, In 5 years, will there be tourism in Iraq? It's a natural draw, the Tigris and Euphrates, the birthplace of civilization, and the thought of looking at where the Garden of Eden might have been/is. Will people feel safe enough, and the government free enough to allow travel to that country to visit.