The Corner

Derb on Iraq

Just a point of common confusion from all those reader emails.

1.  Given where we are now, is current administration policy the best policy for the USA going forward?

2.  Given the tasks they have been given by the administration, have our troops acquitted themselves well?

3.  Knowing what you know now, would you have been in favor of going to war in Iraq back in early 2003?

These are perfectly orthogonal questions.  Translation:  supposing that each one of them has only “Yes” and “No” as possible answers, there are eight possible answers to the set, ranging from “Yes-Yes-Yes” to “No-No-No,” and none of the eight involves a logical contradiction. 

My answers are a grudging Yes, an enthusiastic Yes, and an apologetic No.

Some readers seem to think that a No on Question 3 implies a No on Questions 1 and 2.  I don’t see that at all.

Question 1 is probably the only one worth our giving a lot of time to.  I doubt you’ll get many Noes on Question 2 from NRO readers, or from anywhere in the USA outside the really rabid Left (though of course Abroad is a different matter).  It’s on Question 3 that opinion is cratering.  Bill Buckley was way ahead here, giving his “no” to Question 3 over a year ago.  I’m just catching up.  Hi, Bill. 

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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