Greg Djerejian has a great post up at the Belgravia Dispatch that pretty well sums up my views on the state of play in Iraq and on my posture toward the Administration.
I think I have broader domestic-policy differences with Bush and his crowd than Greg does, but that’s kind of a given given that I’m a liberal. But he speaks for me when he says that
Back in October of 2004, I wrote a a long post in this blog supporting the re-election of George W. Bush largely based on the central importance of Iraq. Then and now, I believe to my core that the stakes in Iraq are immense, and could well determine America’s standing on the global stage for score years or more. Despite my revulsion at Abu Ghraib, my contempt for hubris-ridden, reckless Administration officials like Donald Rumsfeld, and my fear that George Bush’s lack of foreign policy expertise could have him proving an emperor with no clothes–I calculated that the alternative would be materially worse.
I’ll offer a cavil about a few things, and then sit back and try and figure out how I can do nearly as good a job as he is of making concrete suggestions.But let me start with the cavils.
I’ve read a ton of history, and I have a fondness for reading contemporary sources where such exist. All of them – from Thucydides onward – talk about war as the province of error, of chaos, of the worst in human nature – and they’re not just talking about the killing part.
I really do think that one product of the centrality of television and movies to our generation’s learning; the ‘closedness’ of experience in television and films – the neat way that events interact with intentions, and the way that the experiences on screen end as the closing credits come up.
We just flat don’t understand how messy the real world is, and when we’re presented with that mess – errors, misjudgments, the bad judgement and dishonesty that are inescapably part of human action, we throw up our hands and react like a Hollywood star who sees an imperfection in the paint on our new Ferrari and just walks away from it.
This doesn’t excuse errors, and don’t for a moment think that I believe that those who make them should not have to bear the consequences. In fact the thing I like the most about our system is that people bear the consequences – even if it is at times one that seems just but unfair. And no, I don’t think this Administration should escape consequences either.
But the really sad thing is that people like me have no choice but to support the Administration, because the alternatives – as much as I’ve tried to look for them – look as doltish as John Kerry. I’ve got – we’ve all got – the choice between someone who is trying to do the right thing for what appears to be the right reasons, but is both feckless and mulishly stubborn; and those who neither convince me that they know what the right thing to do is, and certainly offer little evidence that they would do better.