Victor Davis Hanson on the Iraq War:
"We are winning a difficult peace. It is not surprising that we have made scores of mistakes, since nation rebuilding in the Middle East has no recent pedigree — not targeting and storming into the Sunni Triangle from the very beginning, distrusting and defaming competent and patriotic Iraqi exiles, allowing thousands to stream in from Iran, dismantling the Iraqi army and police, restraining Americans in war from harming vital infrastructure only to allow Iraqis to ruin it in peace, lax security on captured weapons caches, keeping Iraqis in the shadows while we spoke about their reform, and trying to create a political utopia when the avoidance of tyranny was our real chore. Surely someone in the administration should have been explaining to the American people daily the historical nature of our victory, the critical issues now in play worldwide, and the humane nature of our sacrifice — if only to offer some counterweight to the monotonous negativism of National Public Radio, Nightline, the New York Times, and the Democratic contenders. Instead we have had mostly silence — reticence seen not as Olympian magnanimity, but rather as a sign of weakness that only emboldened critics and fueled the hysteria.
Yet throughout this tumultuous year, what amazes is not that we made errors, or major blunders even — but how quickly we reacted, adjusted, and learned from our mistakes. So we press on, learning as we go, combining power with justice, determined to leave behind something better than we found. We are comforted by knowing that for all the current yelling from Democratic candidates, our own intelligentsia, and the European mainstream, this has not been a war of conquest or exploitation, but something altogether different — a needed effort that, if we see it through, will end up doing a great deal of good for everyone involved.
Our efforts in Iraq to remove a genocidal murderer and inaugurate democracy are not a 'quagmire,' but one of the brightest moments in recent American history — and we need not be ashamed to say that, again and again and again."
This is the conclusion, for the whole thing, please go read it. VDH has a way of putting things succinctly that is simply brilliant.
One other, related thing I've been wondering about. If Bush lied to go to war in Iraq, why did he want to go to war? Are we really supposed to believe it was for oil? Or, as Howard Dean offered, the President wanted to get even with Saddam for Bush, Sr.? I haven't heard a really good legitimization for why the President would have lied to get into war.