The Iraq War ended quite some time ago. What we now have is the Iraq Occupation. That is a basic fact that eluded me for quite awhile. It still eludes many others.
Let us review the situation in Iraq to prove the point:
1) Saddam Hussein has been toppled from power and is on trial for his life in front of a duly constituted Iraqi court.
2) There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at the time we invaded, despite the pathetic attempts of some to convince everyone that the few artillery shells filled with gas and left over from the Iran/Iraq War are weapons of mass destruction that posed a threat to the United States.
3) Iraq has a popularly ratified democratic constitution.
4) Iraq has a duly elected government in accordance with the Iraq constitution and international monitoring.
5) The majority of Iraqis want the US to leave the country.
6) The insurgent violence against US troops comes almost entirely from Iraqi religious and nationalist groups rather than al-Qaeda style terrorist groups.
Even by revisionist conservative standards the US mission has been accomplished.
Many of the conservative intelligentsia have deserted the Iraq Occupation cause. (Sorry, but the bloggers at National Review don’t count as part of that intelligentsia.) What we also notice is that so called mainstream conservatives haven’t budged an inch when it comes to thinking about the Iraq situation. Some of this comes from people who would support Mr. Bush no matter what he does. They are Bush Cultists and not really conservatives in any meaningful sense of the term. Others cannot decouple the idea that democracy is a good thing from the Iraq Occupation.
When a country occupies another country possessing a democratic government against the wishes of the people of the occupied country, the occupied country is not really a democracy until the occupying power leaves. One thinks of the American Revolution, but many can’t think that far.
When all the stated objectives of war are accomplished as they have been in Iraq, yet when many people still demand the occupation by the invading force, one wonders just what objectives and interests are being served. Mainstream conservatives have set a moving target that even the best sharpshooter can’t hit.
Too many mainstream conservatives use arguments containing false premises. Anyone who opposes the Iraq Occupation is in favor of dictatorships. Anyone who opposes the Iraq Occupation would rather see Saddam Hussein still in power. Anyone who opposes the Iraq Occupation is a coward. All three propositions are patently false.
Corollary to the Iraq Occupation issue is the mainstream conservative support for the erosion of freedom, equality, and democracy within the United States. Once again, we have seen the defection of the conservative intelligentsia from Mr. Bush’s domestic projects, yet many mainstream conservatives have yet to think about the Bush legacy for democratic institutions and laws.
Let us review a few other false propositions.
The US is reconstructing Iraq. The daily reports of corruption and mismanagement refute the proposition.
The US is building Iraqi security forces so they can take over for us. The daily reports of escalating and unrestrained violence refutes the proposition.
If the US leaves Iraq it will leave a vacuum of power in the Middle East. Sorry, but that is already a fait accompli unless the US plans to stay there for decades. The American public has already gotten wise to that notion and expressed a distaste for it.
The US is fighting terrorism. No, the US has created more terrorists than it ever hoped to kill or capture in Iraq. Along the way the US has made enemies of those it hoped to persuade to its side.
The mainstream conservative argument for the Iraq Occupation is stunning in its simplicity:
Democracy is a good thing.
The Iraq Occupation promotes democracy.
Therefore, the Iraq Occupation is a good thing.
The argument rests upon a tower of hidden and false premises trotted out at convenience and rarely relevant to the issues under discussion.
One despairs of convincing the Bush Cultist, and wonders just what it will take to get the other mainstream conservatives, the ones who actually think and argue, to change their minds.