The Corner

Re: 1863, 1943, etc.

Well, you’re a slippery one, Derb. Presented with an iron-clad refutation of your insistence that Iraq is an example of “mission creep” by Prof. Conversino, you just change the subject — to the requirement that we pursue a strategy of total all-out warfare or else all is lost. Nice dodge, but sorry, pal, you’re not going to get away with it. Why can’t you just admit that you were wrong about mission creep? Your problem with our delicate method of fighting this war — that we won’t firebomb cities, which is a ludicrous suggestion if you want to talk seriously about how to fight an insurgency in any case –  is directly related to the mission as it was originally conceived. We were fighting to eliminate a terrorist dictator and his regime while leaving the society intact so that the seeds of democracy could be sown. This may, in the long run, prove a losing strategy — and notice I say “in the long run,” because world-historical changes take longer than the average life of a hamster to take hold — but it was always the strategy. You are free to oppose the strategy, and while I disagree with you about that, I respect the pessimistic vision that leads to your skepticism. But don’t slander the strategists who were honest about the expansiveness of their approach before the war started.

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