Blogs > Liberty and Power > Who Says Being a Hawk Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry?

Feb 8, 2004 8:21 pm


Who Says Being a Hawk Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry?



In his latest, Victor Davis Hanson sets the bar for apology rather high:

If the United States went to war with Iraq only because of the threat of WMDs; if the mass murdering of Saddam Hussein was found on examination to be highly exaggerated; if we had some secret plan for stealing the oil of Iraq, if Saddam Hussein posed no future threat to the United States or its allies; if the war resulted in a worse future for Iraq, the United States, and the surrounding Middle East; and if the administration deliberately constructed false intelligence evidence to advance such an unnecessary war that resulted in misery rather than hope, then an apology is needed now.

In the piece, we also learn that Saddam Hussein was"the worst tyrant on the planet" (sorry Kim!); that Gulf War I was part of his"long history of aggression against the United States"; and that the war was justified in part because Hussein"destroyed the ecology of the Mesopotamian wetlands."

You know, as much as I opposed the war, as terrible a mistake as I think it was, I will admit under duress that you can construct a halfway decent argument for it if you put your mind to it. My friend Mark does this all the time. He says that, realistically the only political choices available were continuing the unconscionable slow grind of the sanctions, or ripping the band-aid off. That my preferred solution of ending the sanctions and focusing more directly on the Al Qaeda threat was not an option, and that regime change at the least offered the chance of removing two out of the three items in Bin Laden's recruitment talking points: the sanctions and the presence of troops in Saudi Arabia. And that defanging an enemy regime would afford us more freedom of action in eradicating Al Qaeda than we would have if we eventually had a nuclear-armed Baathist regime to worry about in the region. Now, for various reasons, I think he's wrong. I think we pulled one arm loose from the Middle East tarbaby at the expense of plunging three other limbs deeper in, and I suspect we're actually inadvertently aiding Al Qaeda recruitment, but I think he makes a serious, respectable argument--all the more worthwhile because he acknowledges the complexities of the situation and the lack of easy answers.

Contrast that to Hanson, whose response to the emerging problems with the administration's case for war seems to be to crank up"Ride of the Valkyries" and type harder.


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