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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Shorter Robert Waldmann

Jonathan Chait wrote "I focused entirely on the rationale for war, which I still think was solid, and failed to think very hard about the likely outcome of of an American occupation of Iraq."

So the rationale is different from the likely outcome ?

What does that mean ? What could that mean ?

I can understand, if not accept, the logic of absolute pacifism whatever the consequences but supporting a war whatever the consequences is insane. Chait is sane. He couldn't have meant what he plainly wrote. What could he have had in mind ? How could those words come to be written ?

Those aren't rhetorical questions. I ask for information.


Hans Suter said...

It was part of the rationale for war NOT to occupy Iraq. but just to liberate and move on. That was the main reason for excluding the State Department from the preperations for the follow up to the attack.

Could Chait have forgotten ?


Alan said...

My guess is he means that the war was "just," that is, there were legitimate grounds to attack Iraq. Perhaps he endorsed the Bush doctrine, or wanted to enforce UN resolutions, or simply thought Saddam Hussein was so evil that a war to overthrow him was inherently moral. His error, then, as he now sees it, was treating the justice of the war as a sufficient condition for entry into it, when it was only a necessary condition.

WWasse said...

My best guess: The implicit assumption is that that anything America REALLY wants to do it will be able to do, especially if it involves the use of our military.

Of course if we "have a war" and if we REALLY mean it, then things just will just work out. We're strong, we're right, we're noble. So things will work out.

Of course hardly anybody with any brains would consciously admit to believing all that. Chait wouldn't, he's much too sophisticated to buy in consciously to that Good Ol' American Hubris.

But that sort of thing goes very, very deep in the American psyche. It's pretty much Un-American not to buy into it. Kinda sad, huh?

Robert said...

Dear Hans

I actually thought about that. Chait, not being insane, didn't agree with Romsfield about moving on.

Dear Alan

Note that Chait still thinks the rationale for the war was solid. At the time of the invasion all UN resolutions concerning Iraq had, in fact, been successfully enforced. Chait (and I) believed that Saddam Hussein still had WMD, but he didn't. He had complied fully with all UN resolutions.

So I think Chait's rationale must be the "so evil" one (which was the only reason I was not sure the war was a mistake).

I don't think you can decide what is just without considering how many innocent people will die. Note I think some wars are just and innocent people always die in wars, so my view of justice and morality is not at all that one must make sure not to kill an innocent person (that leads to absolute pacifism which I reject).

I do not see how the justice of a war can be the same if 10,000 people die or 1,000,000. I can't make any sense of a concept of justice such that the justice of the two wars must be the same, nor can I make any sense of your sentence including the word "justice" if the deaths of 990,000 innocent people has anything to do with justice and injustice.