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July 28, 2005

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dsquared

[Of more concern to me, though, is what this portends for the future: what is the point of Britain and America having gone through all this bloodshed and expenditure simply in order to erect a copy of Iran? ]

Welcome back.

[The worst thing is that they're sure to be damned if they try to do something to prevent such an outcome, and damned if they allow it to go ahead, in both cases by the very same set of people.]

Well yes; if you create a problem with no good solution, you're responsible for the consequences of whichever bad solution you end up choosing.

Abiola Lapite

"if you create a problem with no good solution, you're responsible for the consequences of whichever bad solution you end up choosing."

So, because most Iraqis seem not to want western liberties, you're saying we should simply leave all people who suffer under despotic rule to their lot, and external intervention is never justified?

Phil Hunt

For those with a taste for irony, it gets even better: what happens when the new, democratic Iraq starts developing weapons of mass destruction, as they probably will do when they get the insurgency under control and the economy functioning.

What will the Americans do then? If the Iraqis are shrewd -- and I expect people like Jaafari and Allawi probably are -- they will keep a veneer of democracy as a prophylactic against Western intervention. It'll be hard for the USA to argue with a straight face that they should invade Iraq to depose the democratic regime they installed and install a dictator. (Hey, maybe they could give Saddam his old job back?)

gene berman

dcentered:

In my own insufferable, arrogant, and self-maximizing opinion, I discount 100% the opinions or preferences of those who are said to prefer bondage. Temporary insanity, I sez, no matter for how long it has existed in the past. "Set 'em free," I sez, "an' let 'em learn to shift for themselves"; sink 'r swim, most'll swim--and I know better than to expect thanks. But those enslaved or kept in one or another form of subservience are not only victims of oppression but are potential tools of aggression against me, mine, and like others of the free variety, no matter how blindered
like yerself. "Domino" theory is discredited--that don't make it less true. A mess of pottage is mighty attractive to some.

dsquared

[So, because most Iraqis seem not to want western liberties, you're saying we should simply leave all people who suffer under despotic rule to their lot, and external intervention is never justified?]

For a man who objects so vociferously to having words put in his mouth, you're very keen on doing it to other people. No, surprisingly, I don't agree with your laughable strawman characterisation. The clear fact of the matter is that this particular intervention was cocked up. Not only that, but it was cocked up in the exact specific way in which it was predicted ahead of time that it would be cocked up. Therefore, the people who cocked it up, bear the consequences for their cock-up. I have never understood why so many people want to hear "don't do X badly" as "don't do X at all".

Abiola Lapite

"For a man who objects so vociferously to having words put in his mouth, you're very keen on doing it to other people."

Oh bullshit! I asked you a question: if I wanted to put words in your mouth, I'd have made a direct statement.

"No, surprisingly, I don't agree with your laughable strawman characterisation."

There's nothing "strawman" about the question I asked you: are you suggesting that armed intervention in other countries' affairs is never justified, or aren't you? Or are you not enough of a man to give a straight answer?

"The clear fact of the matter is that this particular intervention was cocked up. Not only that, but it was cocked up in the exact specific way in which it was predicted ahead of time that it would be cocked up. Therefore, the people who cocked it up, bear the consequences for their cock-up."

Which is still not any sort of answer to the question I originally posed to you: even if this invasion hadn't been "cocked up", would you have been in favor of it or not? Nothing I've seen you write leads me to suggest you would have been, and as the problem under discussion here isn't one which even a hypothetically "non-cocked up" invasion could have done much about in any case, I have every right to suspect otherwise, e.g, your promotion of the Lancet study on the body count from the invasion.

dsquared

My position has always been consistent and you have my forgiveness for your lack of diligence in monitoring every single word I write. I am in favour of interventions that can be confidently predicted to do more good than harm (a no-fly zone in Darfur is one of the ones I've suggested; I am also in favour of the Afghanistan campaign although that was not a humanitarian intervention), against ones that can be confidently predicted to do more harm than good (Iraq, by a mile) and disinclined to give borderline cases the benefit of the doubt because their track record is absolutely lousy.

A non-cocked up invasion could have done a lot about this, as it would have left Iraq as a functioning state and not reliant to maintain public order on factions dominated by Iran. I have no idea how such an invasion would have been conducted and suspect that it couldn't, however, hence opposition to the war.

The debate over the Lancet study was simply one of fact and intellectual honesty and as far as I can see has nothing to do with this.

Andrew

[Long whine about "consistency" deleted.]

Abiola Lapite

"so I don't know why I would expect consistency on this front."

Whatever. Go find somewhere else to sulk - this is my private property, and I'll do as I damn well please on it.

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