the one positive byproduct of the conflict is that Saddam and his totalitarian state are being torn to the ground. But this only justifies the invasion within the constraining limits of the debate over U.N. resolutions, in which the only options on the table were military conquest or military "containment," i.e., lethal sanctions and periodic air raids. The latter policies did not merely drag out the ridiculous where's-the-weapons shuffle. They strangled Iraqi civil society, helping prevent an indigenous resistance from developing. Now, with the country conquered, that makes it all the more difficult to establish a more free system. Except in the Kurdish areas, the popular institutions that should be the heart of the new Iraq have been decimated, not just by Saddam but by his foreign enemies. A dozen years of deprivation will do that to you.Just how I felt too. And I agree with Jesse on this, too: it's time to declare victory and as rapidly as possible pull out, not just from Iraq but from the middle east, and the world in general. Think it's gonna happen? Not bloody likely. The warmongers, as Jesse notes early in the essay, are having their time of triumph, and to the objective observer it ain't pretty.
If I was relatively mute on these topics during the fighting, it was because I had so little that was constructive to say. I wanted peace, I wanted security, and I wanted a freer Iraq. War was clearly bad for the first two ends, and was an imperfect path at best to the third; still, once American troops were on the ground, their quick victory seemed like the only route remaining to something roughly akin to those goals.
Look for hubris.