Monday, April 09, 2007

Principled Anti-War Criticism That Leaves You Speechless

I'm of course talking about this breathtaking piece by Tish Durkin, over at the Huffington Post. I'm a war supporter, so I probably wasn't in her target audience (even though I'm a liberal), but Durkin offers up some of the most principled criticism of the Iraq war that I've read. You must read the whole thing, but I'll excerpt a few bits:

Don't get me wrong. If I felt that this post were going to be read by a bunch of war apologists, I would take them angrily to task for the manifest, manifold failures in Iraq, and the criminally self-indulgent fictions on which those failures were based. But since this post is presumably being read mostly by war critics, I will devote it to challenging anti-war activists on their apparent belief that everything they say about Iraq is, always has been, and ever shall be true.

It is not, for instance, true that it was the American-led invasion that opened season on the slaughter of innocent Iraqi civilians. Whatever else the Bush administration made up about Iraq, the rank murderousness of Saddam Hussein was not one of them. Amid the gunfire and giddiness of Baghdad right after its fall in April 2003, it was common to find people converging onto bits of infrastructure, manically fueled by the rumor mill: someone had said that there was a torture chamber underneath this stretch of highway; a secret prison built into this wall. People had no time to be interviewed; if they talked at all, they'd keep going as they panted: "My husband/brother/son disappeared twenty odd years ago; he could still be alive; I have to get him out." I remember going to a mass grave; a "minor" one, not far from Hilla. People were digging there, too: for bones, which were piled everywhere, a sickening canine bonanza. Close by there still lived a man who had seen what had happened there in the days after the war with Kuwait, but kept his mouth shut for years: busloads of innocent Shi'ites, screaming 'God is Great' at the top of their lungs, had been unloaded, rung around pre-dug graves, and shot.

And this one, which ought to be put on a t-shirt, and passed out at every anti-war rally in the country:

Finally, what depresses me, and makes me despise so much war criticism even when I agree with it, is that so many of those positing it seem so happy about what's gone wrong. They seem to relish the probability that Iraq will get worse and worse so that they can be righter and righter.

Like liberals - and thinking conservatives, and sentient beings -- everywhere, I gravely doubt that the troop surge - so little so late -- will do anything to save Iraq. But for the sake of the Iraqi people, I sure hope it does - even if that helps the Republicans.

This may sound crazy, but if the only path to victory in Iraq and the larger GWOT meant a hundred years of GOP victories, I'd pay that price, and I'm sure Durkin would too. Of course, most of us know that such a trade isn't even remotely neccessary, or helpful for that matter. Such fairy-tale either/or dilemmas exist only in the minds of party-line partisans. We don't need to elect Republicans to succeed in Iraq and the GWOT. We just need those in both parties to get their heads on straight.

Hat tip: Instapundit


M. J. Graham said...


I agree that there is an element that is celebrating the failures of the Iraq War. But, I respectfully disagree with you in continuing the occupying war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

First, I am a Free Liberal. A Free Liberal defined as:

"A Free Liberal is a person who values individual freedom, is alive to the dangers inherent in all forms of power and authority, and believes in the possibility of the rule of law, equal justice, fundamental rights, and a free and prosperous society." (

A Free Liberal is very much in agreement with Classical Liberalism or Libertarianism.

Anyway, I objected to invading Iraq because of the fallout that is happening now. It was overly optimistic to believe that liberal democracy would get a foothold after Saddam fell.

There is too much influence of sectarianism, tribalism, feudalism, and a lack of freedom philosophy or a concept of individualism that stifles debate about establishing
a democracy.

The violence that is taking place now is conducted by Sunni Iraqis against Shia Iraqis and vice versa. Both camps are receiving help from satellite allies. The Sunnis are getting help from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordon, and Egypt. The Shias are getting it from Iran.

The war on Terrorism will not be fought successfully with a standing army. It is impossible to fight a guerrilla style war with tanks and bradleys. It will be commando style tactics, along with good human intelligience, backed up with high tech air support that will have the most effect in fighting terrorist.

Reasonable and healthy opposition to Iraq and Afghanistan and the way this war is being conducted is necessary and needed.

Rafique Tucker said...

Reasonable and healthy opposition to Iraq and Afghanistan and the way this war is being conducted is necessary and needed.

True enough, MJ. That was basically the point here. Dissent and reasonable opposition is good.

plez... said...


I still don't understand why you still support this immoral war against the people of Iraq who's ONLY sin was having a former US puppet as their leader. We were lied to, the reasons for the war have changed annually since the start, Al Queda showed up in Iraq after our invasion, Osama Bin Laden has never been to Iraq, the White House leaked Valerie Plame's name on numerous occassions to discredit Ambassador Wilson, and the list goes on and on.

Please help me to understand how you can possibly think that the continued death and destruction of this unwinnable and unrighteous war is good for the US and for Iraq.


Rafique Tucker said...


First off, I have to correct you-Saddam was not a puppet of the U.S. It's true that for realpolitik, in the past, we didn't confront him like we should have. Seems to me that was reason enough to remove him. Saddam was a threat (state person of terror, etc), long before GWB, Cheney , and the neocons.

This war has been mishandled in many ways, and truly many lives have been lost. The thing is though, the biggest mistake will be walking out too early, and leaving Iraq infinitely worse off than it is now.

Rachel said...

thanks to you and Durkin. Her views are part of the reason I am pro-war.

m.j. graham said...


"This war has been mishandled in many ways, and truly many lives have been lost."

I agree.

"The thing is though, the biggest mistake will be walking out too early, and leaving Iraq infinitely worse off than it is now."

I respectfully disagree.

The Bush Two administration played right into the Iranian Theocrats' hands.

In the aftermath of 1st Gulf War, Bush One encouraged and promised American military support to the Iraqis if they attempt to overthrow Saddam. The Iraqis did execute an uprising, but they didn't recieved the US Military support that was promised. In the end the overthrow attempt was a failure. Saddam's supporters were able to prevail.

Later, it became known that Bush One withheld support at the request of the Saudis. It appears that the Saudis were reluctant in fear of majority Shia Iraqis assuming control and allying themselves with complete majority Shia Iran.

After all this, my point is that, Bush Two has made the Bush One mishap a reality. And it does not matter if the US leave. The wheels are in motion for a sectarian war to happen. In fact, it already has. This sectarian conflict was going to take place even if the US didn't invade. By removing Saddam, the US emboldened and gave opportunity to Iran to become bold and excise some saber rattling.

The sooner the US withdraw from Iraq, the sooner the US can focus on Al Qeada.

Oh!, I'll also would suggest that the US to end the nation building effort in Afghanistan. The US will be in bankruptcy before any chance of a functional democracy to take place.