The war was wrong
Kevin Drum, in trying to defend his support for the debable in Iraq when it started, makes an especially stupid analogy
Kevin, Irvine has some really nice book stores. I suggest you hit them.
I'm not sure I see it. The fact that Iraq is a clusterfuck doesn't demonstrate that preemptive war is wrong any more than WWII demonstrated that wars using Sherman tanks are right. It's the wrong unit of analysis. After all, Iraq didn't fail because it was preemptive (though that didn't help); it failed either because George Bush is incompetent or because militarized nation building in the 21st century is doomed to failure no matter who does it. Preemption per se had very little to do with it, and the argument against preemptive war, which is as much moral as pragmatic, is pretty much the same today as it was in 2002.
First of all, using Shermans was wrong in WWII because they were death traps. But there was no other tank. So people fought and died in them.
No, Iraq failed because ALL colonial wars fail. Stanley Karnow, Bernard Fall, Alistair Horne all have wonderful books which make this point. The Osprey series of monographs also help.
But colonial warfare, whether you call it preemption or mission civilitrice, ends the same, with the locals trying to kill you. If you read Thomas Pakenham, you would think colonial wars ended when the Europeans established colonies, but they never did. There was always a local rebellion or something until the Europeans left.
Iraq failed because the US wanted to impose a government on the Iraqi people and they would rather follow Moqtada Sadr. We could have predicted this, if we chose to. We did not.
The war was wrong in 2002 and is wrong today.
posted by Steve @ 8:02:00 AM