Reason Magazine - War is Over, If You Want It
Time can make every war seem like a good idea, or at least like not an obviously bad one. The progress of civilization being what it is, and people’s ability to gin up strong feelings about events far away in space and time being what they are, it can all start to seem For the Best. Some wicked regime gone (and don’t suggest they would ever have gone away without being conquered! Except for maybe Soviet Russia, but….), new buildings built, the dead largely forgotten.
Of course, such judgments depend on when you look. U.S. meddling in Iranian affairs seemed like a good idea to most until 1979; and Iraq today, or tomorrow, may seem like a victory until someone radicalized by the invasion and occupation dirty bombs New York in 2020.
After all, we can be pretty confident, barring eco-catastrophe or full-on nuclear World War III, that things will, someday, be better in Iraq—on the whole, for most people—than they are now, than they were in 2004, or than they were under Saddam.
But if that’s the only bar that has to be jumped for people to decide that that means the Iraq invasion was a good idea, a settled victory for American military might, that’s setting a scarily low threshold for waging war.