Reflections in a Time of War

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No, I’m not responsible for this terrible war. I don’t study foreign affaIrS, I don’t write about foreign affairs, and I didn’t recommend that we go into Iraq. But I did have the impression that nuclear weapons were about to be set loose on the world, possibly landing in New York or somewhere else on the East Coast. And I thought that going to war was probably okay to get rid of a horrible dictator. So, now that we are mired in this tragedy, I feel guilty.

I should have foreseen its consequences and not dismissed the Cato Institute’s opposition as if it were just another knee-jerk rant against any war.

What actually brought me to realize the foolhardiness of.our preemptive war was a 2005 commentary by economist Don Boudreaux, which I just found again. He suggested that people may be responsible for the kind of government they get. “Why was Saddam Hussein ruling Iraq?” he wrote. “Were Iraqis just incredibly unlucky that such a vile dictator somehow grabbed power and ruled ruthlessly for so long? Or was Hussein’s tyranny at least as much a consequence as a cause of a dysfunctional cultural, political, and economic situation?”

Saddam Hussein, like Marshal Tito, kept enmity in hIS country from erupting into constant war. He did it brutally and viciously. Today, not just his enemies but potentially every Iraqi faces brutality and viciousness. Personally, I feel very much as though we are back in the Vietnam.War. It was eerie like this, too. At the time, watching a war going on while one was eating dinner was new. I didn’t watch much; I just wanted it to be over;· and eventually it was. I don’t watch this one much; I want it to be over; and it will be, but (as they used to say) at what price?

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