Dan Drezner has a post up apologizing for his dreadful erorrs on the Iraq war.
I wanted to comment on it, buty his comments are suffering technical issues (what we call, technically, "hosed.") But then I realized that it was a comment that needed to be made more broadly, so I brought it back here.
Not only do I believe no apology is necessary, I think people are being damn fools about it, based on not having much of a sense of history or time.
Consider the list proposed at Dan's site:
(1) No WMD found.
(2) Not enough troops to do the job.
(3) Not minimally competent.
(1) significant quantities of WMD were found, and it's clear Saddam had preserved the necessary information and material to resume production when sanctions were inevitably revoked. Including 500 tonnes of yellowcake.
This much is just fact. (Watch what happens when this is brought up: the response, when it's not just "lalala can't hear you", is "Oh, those weren't enough WMD", or "they were old", or even "Saddam would never use them.")
More important, without the Iraq war, we can pretty well conclude that there would be an Iraq/Iran nuclear arms race. Iran is bad enough, the pair would have been infinitely annoying.
(2) Enough troops. Enough for what? Iraq fell so precipitously and completely that the story will be told alongside Thermopylae and Zama, and both the direct invasion and the following occupation have been done with historically few casualties. Enough to settle the internecine tensions of 25 million arabs, kurds, and turkmen? No, but other than ensuring that none of the groups get complete control, what do we care frankly?
None the less, it's as well functioning a democracy as there is in the Middle East (ex Israel), and while we fuss about it, no one is noticing the Iraqi economy seems to be doing quite well.
(3) Incompetence. Yeah, sure. They clearly aren't very good at getting good press coverage; callow young academics don't seem to be happy. But in the mean time, the Iraq and Afghan Campaigns have broken the lines of communication for al Qaeda across Central Asia, eliminated a massive source of funding and support for the Palestinians and for other known terrorist groups (yes, yes, I know people say there was no connection, but it would require self-delusion amounting to a positive fugue state to actually ignore abu Nidal or the monetary payments to suicide bombers. Not to mention the loss of Afghanistan as a safe base for al Q.) While generating a "Cinderella economy". And fairly substantial education reform co-sponsored by Ted Kennedy. And re-election after losing the popular vote the first time, something I don't think was ever done before. And two rarely-done gains in Congress for the President's party, followed by a relatively small change in the 6-year off-election.
What Bush is missing is a way to deal with damn fools who have opinions first, and then think. Too often, the opinion first is "it would have been so much better if they'd have listened to me."