Monday, September 27, 2004

Over at VCOrin Kerr asks the following of hawkish bloggers...

First, 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 feel it was good idea for the following reasons: One, I wanted to see Hussein removed from power - he was and remained a threat to his neighbors and to the United States. Two, to ensure that Iraq did not have WMDs. Three, to send a signal to Hussein-wannabes elsewhere in world that behavior such as Hussein's (paying the families of Palestinians suicide bombers, for example) was not conducive to staying in power. Four, to deny the terrorists the use of Iraq as a training ground (whether or not Al Queda operated in Iraq, there is no argument that terrorist groups were operating in Iraq). Five, to send a signal to the rest of the world that the United States, and the United States alone, would determine the actions that were necessary to safeguard our security. All of the above, in my mind, justified the attack - both then and now. It should go without saying that it sure would have been nice to have accomplished the above with fewer casualties.

Second, what reaction do you have to the not-very-upbeat news coming of Iraq these days, such as the stories I link to above? As I've said before, the Administration has long forecast a rise in violence as the elections in Iraq draw near and as Iraq begins to take responsibility for its own security. While it would be great if the terrorists and other insurgents had been rendered incapable of such attacks by now, the fact that they are launching such attacks is, for me, neither a surprise nor alarming. I want to point out the irony that the more attacks there are, the longer US troops will stay in Iraq - the best way to get us out of Iraq would be to stop shooting at us.

Third, 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?. To me, it already has been a success. Hussein is out of power and unable to wreak havoc on his neighbors. One of the reward systems for Palestinian terrorism has been stopped. We have pretty much confirmed that there are no active WMD programs in Iraq. Every terrorist attacking our troops in Iraq is not attacking us elsewhere in the world, and in Iraq, terrorist attacks are being responded to militarily with much more force than would occur if similar attacks took place elsewhere. The rest of the world no longer can count on being able to insult us into inaction.

To be fair, I'll also add what I am not happy about: that our troops have been so hesitant to employ overwhelming force that the result has been more attacks and more American casualties. I'm unhappy that Bush has been so stung by the criticism from the left that he seems paralyzed and unable to respond to Syria and Iran.