April 10, 2003


Can we please have a moratorium on all of this "the easy part is over" nonsense? We've already lost about 100 fellow citizens and killed untold thousands of Iraqis (given the "disappearance" of the Republican Guards, it seems possible that we may have killed scores of thousands), with no guarantee that the worst is over. Now we face some significant expense for rebuilding costs and a better than even chance that the replacement regime will be rather dicey. But we have more money than we know what to do with and there are plenty of crappy governments and unstable states around (if the Iraqis don't want a decent society, we won't be able to force one on them no matter how hard we try). Lives on the other hand are precious. Suppose Iraq fragments into three distinct states and remains as politically and economically backwards as its neighbors and the American taxpayers end up being on the hook for $100 billion in rebuilding costs: does that not all seem rather trifling compared to the flag draped coffins that mourning Americans will be burying in days to come and to all the fatherless, husbandless Iraqis the war leaves in its wake? The war was (and is) just, but to minimize it and its costs, particularly by comparison to a tax bill and some administrative difficulties, is to diminish our own humanity. The hard part is almost over; the annoying part awaits.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 10, 2003 4:39 PM

Has this site been hacked? Since there is no link, I assume this is Orrin writing - or more accurately seemingly arguing with himself. This and the comment below about getting out of Iraq ASAP are pretty weird.

Posted by: Jim at April 10, 2003 4:54 PM

Orrin is right that the hard part - the loss and the taking of lives - is, except for the long train of suicide bombers from Palestine et al, largely over. If anyone says the military part is "easy," they're moral idiots.

But we shouldn't leave Iraq lightly. The war on terror, like the Cold War, has to be fought to the end, and the end is freedom and democracy in the Muslim world, just as the end of the Cold War was freedom and democracy in the Soviet bloc.

Posted by: pj at April 10, 2003 5:24 PM

I happen to agree with you orrin. The war was the easy part, now comes the hard part. I just can't see how were going to be able to turn this country around. Everyone hates everyone and they just can't wait to blame thier instant "freedom" it on the US. I don't think the average Iraqi can deal with "freedom". Radicals and ex-baath people won't stand for it. Their belief is that the average Iraqi is not able to live without some sort of oppresive heel on the neck of the "peasant". This heel comes in the form of a dictator or Islamic extremism. Wipe out what we can and let the UN have what's left or put 110% into controling Iraq for another 50 years.

Posted by: buck at April 10, 2003 5:27 PM


I'm a theocon http://www.brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/1002
), not a neocon http://www.brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/106
). The neocons think democracy is itself a set of inherently stable institutions that can be planted anywhere and will flower. Theocons think democracy is a rather secondary function of healthy non-governmental institutions. The soil of the Arab world http://www.brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/979
) seems like infertile ground for democracy:

Posted by: oj at April 10, 2003 5:51 PM

Nice post, oj.

Posted by: Charlie Murtaugh at April 10, 2003 6:45 PM