Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Question for Conservatives

The topic is Iraq.  I'm not sure exactly how to frame this...what I'd like to know is how conservatives understand what's happened in Iraq.  Was it a foolish neo-con adventure that "real" conservatives would never have done?  A flat-out victory?  A defeat?  A very costly misstep that nevertheless delivered some real benefits for the US?  Do you think it would have been a victory, but for the meddling of liberal in 2007 who pushed George W. Bush to commit to leaving too soon, or but for something that Barack Obama has done wrong since then?  Do you think that Bush's actions in 2007-2008 were part of his plan all along?  Was it good for the Iraqi people?  Bad for the Iraqi people?  Was the invasion a correct decision, badly executed?  A poor choice regardless of how it was executed? 

I pretty much know the liberal understanding of Iraq.  I also know the "realist" conservative critique of Iraq, although I don't know how widespread it is among those who think of themselves as conservatives.  What I'm a lot murkier on is how mainstream conservatives think of Iraq at this point.  So, here's your chance: tell me what you think happened there.


  1. I don't know quite how to tell you this Mr. Bernstein but, well, I don't think any conservatives read your blog.

    I don't think they thrive on the same kind of blog posts that liberals do. They're a very finicky and skittish bunch, and they definitely know what they like.

    Maybe you need to put up the political equivalent of a hummingbird feeder. Maybe if you throw up a birtherism petition or list of the worst members of Congress, you'll attract a few, and then you can observe them in their natural habitat at your leisure.

  2. Agree with Ace K here. "Real conservatives" wouldn't read your blog JP. It's basically a dynamic where if you have a sustained, serious, thoughtful discussion on anything, you've automatically excluded real conservatives. You're asking real conservatives to have an honest look at what happened in Iraq. That's unthinkable for those sociopaths.

  3. Yeah, it's really too bad. It's always been kind of a mystery to me what conservatives actually think about issues or process or politicians, and what they'd plausibly like to see happen, but it's so hard to discern any approach to government underneath all the buzzing wings and iridescent feathers (as it were).

    I dunno, maybe it's just me. Are there any movement conservative writers you'd particularly recommend as having lucid answers to your weekly questions or other real issues?

  4. I'm afraid I'm with the crowd on this one, if it has more than 140 characters it seems to be beyond too many of the typical conservatives. But if you manage to find a verbose conservative, send them my way. I have a million questions for them. =D

  5. The only conservative I read is David Frum. I mean he wants the US to conquer the world but still, very very smart dude. I'm pretty sure he's been read out of the movement by this point though.

  6. Frum has been outed as not a true Conservative for participating in thoughtful discussions with liberals such as David Corn and other "failed" Conservatives as Andrew Sullivan. The problem is that Conservatives are like Muslims, oye. There are many sects and only the most avaricious get the print. When do you hear about paloeoconservatives or any other than Neoconservatives and the foaming at the mouth Palin Conservatives? You don't.

  7. There are plenty of "real liberals" who have spun off the globe as well, just in the opposite direction. Don't be so dismissive of conservatives or you'll regret it.

    I'm a conservative and supported the Iraq War whole-heartedly. We really screwed the Iraqi people after the first Gulf War by urging them to rise up repeatedly and doing next to nothing to help them. Not to mention, Saddam looked like he had WMDs, not just to us, but to many others in the region (Jordan) and world (UK). Now, it turned out that this was posturing on Saddam's part, since to say "I've got no powerful weapons" would have been to show weakness and probably die in a coup.

    Today, I feel terrible about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died to collateral damage and about US failures during the war (mainly not sending enough troops, disbanding the Iraqi military, and not having a real plan to rebuild). There was also plenty of corruption and other unseemly things like torture which took place during the war which made me embarassed to be an American.

    However, Iraq is free from a dictator and shows great promise into developing into at least a pseudo democracy. Decades from now the world will be a better place because of the Iraq War, and already its a much better place without Saddam Hussein.

    The war had made me much more hesitant about committing US force to "regime change" but will ultimately benefit Iraqis, the region, and the world.


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