Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Over at the CFR they ask, Was the Iraq war worth it? To whom?

The Council on Foreign Relations has taken their sweet time about it, but they have held a roundup to ask if the Iraq War was worth it.  They've rounded up some experts to opine.  We'll summarize:

Andrew Bacevich of Boston University lost a son in a war he was never excited about.  Conceding that Saddam's demise makes a better world, he does not see much else positive.  Quote, Central to that legacy has been Washington's decisive and seemingly irrevocable abandonment of any semblance of self-restraint regarding the use of violence as an instrument of statecraft. With all remaining prudential, normative, and constitutional barriers to the use of force having now been set aside, war has become a normal condition, something that the great majority of Americans accept without complaint. War is U.S.  The Neutralist would argue that maybe a world with Saddam would be better than the eternal American war.

Next up to bat is chicken hawk, Max Boot.  He bats for the home team as a sinecurista, being Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies, Council on Foreign Relations.  Max is hopeful.  The lad's argument is that the Korean War led to a rich successful South Korea.  Taking out troops now leaves him worried that the vast progress attained might falter.  He would have us leave troops until they are not needed like in ..............South Korea.  His comment is a great argument for we should never have gone there.  Unfortunately, neither he nor the CFR will get that.

The third man is Michael Ignatieff, Professor, University of Toronto and failed Canadian Prime Ministerial candidate.  Whatever his deficiencies as a politician, he hit the first pitch out of the park in his analysis, "The question to begin with is: worth it to whom?"  He continues to score points, If we add the damage that mendacious claims about WMD did to U.S. credibility, the relative strengthening of Iran in the region and the continuing failure of Iraq to achieve democratic stability, it becomes ever more difficult to believe the war was worth it.  He makes Boot look......let's be kind.

The final savant is Michael O'Hanlon who is Senior Fellow for Foreign Policy Studies, Brookings Institution.  Boy is that a surprise.  I don't know if Mikey likes it as in the old commercial, but Mikey likes himself.  As he self-congratulated, I made mistakes in my Iraq analysis over the years at times, but one thing I surely got right was to warn from 2001 onward that any war would be very difficult and challenging -- as in a 2001 Washington Post op-ed with Philip Gordon that provoked Ken Adelman's well-known "cakewalk" op-ed in reply [Washington Post link not available]. Gordon and I predicted no cakewalk.  Gee, Mike can you remember any of the mistakes?

Mr. O'Hanlon concludes, So any interim assessment on my part at this stage would have to voice skepticism that the war was worth it. But again, as noted, I remain hopeful that over time, the benefits will be substantial and palpable enough to make the debate interesting. We are not there yet, however.  No kidding. 

It was a war on spec with no credible evidence to justify starting it.  That O'Hanlon and Boot are employed anywhere other than as carney shills is true evidence of failing upward.  It's not what you say, but who you say it for. 

We have pondered the question here at the Neutralist Institute and have come up with our answer to the question, was the Iraq War worth it?  If you are not an Iraqi killed in the violence or a dead or, injured Serviceman of any nationality, or an American taxpayer, it was all just hunky dory.

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