This will be my last post guest blogging here. I want to again thank Ed for his support and the opportunity to guest blog here among such a distinguished group. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a “shout out” to my blogfather, Timothy Sandefur, one of the nation’s leading property rights attorneys. His blog is always worth reading. And I check it regularly.
Start with an Ayn Rand base, add a little Christopher Hitchens and a few dashes of Harry V. Jaffa, and, presto, you get Sandefur. Check out his post on George W. Bush. I think Sandefur gets it basically right.
George Bush was an unlikely man, and an unlucky choice, to lead a war for secular values against a theocratic ideology of hatred. He lacked the rhetorical position (let alone ability!) to articulate a defense of those values. Yet he did recognize that that was the war that had to be fought, and he did fight it. The memory I will always have of him is him standing with the bullhorn at the World Trade Center site, saying “I can hear you, the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us soon.”
From my end, the Bush Administration certainly fucked up the War in Iraq. But I don’t think it was because Bush fought the war for big oil, Halliburton’s interest or other “bad” motives his enemies often accuse him of harboring. Though, you know what they say about “good intentions.” In hindsight, always 20/20, obviously we should have left the tyrant Saddam Hussein in power and concentrated on Afghanistan. I think we could draw a parallel between Iraq and Vietnam. That war too had huge popular support in the beginning. My position on both wars is, in principle, I wouldn’t be opposed to either if we could have quickly won and got out. (Wasn’t that Barry Goldwater’s position on Vietnam? Win or get out?) But in the end, neither war ended up being worth it (though the verdict of History is still out on Iraq). The principle of fighting a continual war, with potentially huge losses, against theocratic Islamic terrorism, is, I think, valid. But, as they say, you have to “pick your battles.” And Iraq turned out to be the wrong battled to pick. Hussein, though a tyrant, was, in the end, a more or less secular tyrant, who, perversely, did a better job keeping the Islamic fundamentalist extremists at bay, in part because he, as a tyrant could get away with using *any means necessary* to achieve that end and we could not (and we could not, for good reason).