RadicallyCentered

Occassional reflections of a moderate (hey at least I think I am)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Historical Revisionism

Over at Instapundit Prof. Reynolds has the faithful fired up about lefties engaging in a bit of historical revisionism. The culprit is an editorial in St. Louis paper which states "I don't recall any prewar speeches about delivering democracy to the Middle East." The Professor’s troops are busy tracking down the earliest statements demonstrating that the administration used the liberation of the Iraqis as a justification for the war. As far as I am concerned, they can stop the search.

Anyone who says that the liberation of Iraqis was not a justification given by the administration going into the war is one or more of the following (a) forgetful, (b) unaware of their surroundings as they existed then, (c) illiterate or (d) a liar.

But I would like to note a different kind of historical revisionism that is taking place; namely the notion that the liberation of Iraqis and democratization of Iraq was the primary reason for the war. Anyone who claims that the primary reason given to the American people for invading Iraq was the liberation of the Iraqi people is one or more of the following (a) forgetful, (b) unaware of their surroundings as they existed then, (c) illiterate or (d) a liar.

I think that Paul Wolfowitz summarized the matter about right when he said:
there have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people.

Now one could say that they personally believed that the third reason was the best reason but I do not think it can be argued that the third argument was the one which was used to convince most of the American people that we should overthrow Iraq. (Did anyone do any pre-invasion polling asking “Assuming Iraq does not possess WMD and there are no connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda, do you support invading Iraq to liberate Iraqis from the oppression of Saddam Hussein?”? I kind of doubt it, but my sense is that if such polling were done it would be a small minority of people supporting an invasion under those circumstances. )

As Wolfowitz notes in the link above:
The third one by itself . . . is a reason to help the Iraqis but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did it.
In hindsight, there are no WMD. I think the connections to the kind of terrorism that the American people were sold on have not been proven. So that leaves the third reason. Perhaps history will prove Wolfowitz wrong and the liberation of Iraqis will prove to have been worth putting American kids’ lives at risk on the scale we did. It would, however, be disingenuous to say that was why America decided to put American kids’ lives at risk on the scale we did.

As a general rule (reasons for which may become painfully obvious) I refrain from using analogies to illustrate my point, but here goes. Saying that we went to war to liberate Iraqis is a bit like a kid going to buy a sports car. He sees the commercial that tells him how fast the car goes and he knows the ladies love the car. As he is signing the paperwork the salesman tells him about the excellent airbag system that the car has. He drives off the lot hoping to entice the ladies with his new ride, before he is able to reach 40 mph he is plowed into by an SUV. If not for the excellent airbag system he would have been killed, instead he walks away unscathed. You see the reason he bought the car was because of the excellent airbag system.

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