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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Of Catastrophic Success

posted by Jazz at 12/23/2004 07:57:00 AM


I ran across an exceptional piece by Robert Higgs, editor of The Independent Review, titled "The Iraq War - A Catastrophic Success." Rather than just poking fun at yet another of our Cheerless Leader's Bushisms, Higgs makes the point that the war in Iraq really is a success. It just depends on what criteria you use to judge it and who's doing the measuring.

[T]he term ?catastrophic success? does express the character of the war precisely. We need only bear in mind that the catastrophe afflicts one set of people, whereas the success accrues to an entirely different set. Moreover, to appreciate the war?s success, we must keep in the forefront of our thinking the instrumental rationality of its perpetrators. We must ask: Who bears the responsibility for launching and continuing the war? What are these individuals trying to achieve? And have they in fact achieved these objectives? Having answered these questions correctly, we shall be obliged to conclude that the war has been a huge success for those who brought it about, however disastrous it has been for many others, especially for the unfortunate people of Iraq.

Not satisfied with simple generalizations, Higgs goes on to name the people who have profited and exactly how they have prospered.

<>A short list of the war?s perpetrators must include the president and his close advisers; the neoconservative intriguers who stirred up and continue to stoke elite and popular opinion in support of the war; the members of Congress who abdicated their exclusive constitutional responsibility to declare war, authorized the president to take the nation to war if he pleased, and then financed the war by a series of enormous appropriations from the Treasury; and certain politically well-placed persons in the munitions industries and in interest groups that have chosen to support, sometimes for reasons based on religious beliefs, a war that they perceive as promoting Israel?s interests or as bringing about the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Each of these responsible parties has gained greatly from the war.

President Bush sought above all to be reelected. In his 2004 campaign, he made no apologies for the war; indeed, he sought to take credit for launching it and for waging it relentlessly since the invasion. Vice President Cheney also campaigned actively on the same basis. Bush and Cheney?s efforts have now yielded them the prize they sought.

There's a good bit more, and I assure you it will be worth your time to read the entire piece. Well written and it manages to capture a lot of things that I've been feeling while not being able to concisely put them into words.

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