The reports this past the weekend of the WikiLeaks documents showing how the US ignored torture in Iraq made me sad. Not so much that that it came as a surprise, but rather that it came as no surprise. And it made me think of what I wrote about the Iraq war before it began…
I’m no great fan of George W. Bush, and my own opinion on Iraq is ambivalent. I can’t think of a good reason to use force against Iraq, but then again, I can’t think of a good reason not to, either. The attack on Iraq is inevitable
My ambivalence back then was the hope that, despite my doubts that sending in troops can solve any problem, that deposing Saddam Hussein was a noble cause, that we were the good guys, that it was 1938 all over again and this time we would stop Hitler before he annexed the Sudetenland.
In the process, however, we’ve lost the moral high ground. Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, waterboarding, “targeted killings” carried out by drones… and the war we started caused over 100,000 Iraqi deaths. It’s not 1938, and if you have to impose democracy on a country then just maybe it’s not democracy anymore.
Before the war I was ambivalent. What we didn’t know then is that we didn’t know anything then.