This blog started in December of last year, well after the war in Iraq began and ended, mission accomplished!, leading what seems to be a new era in American foreign policy.

There are those that would have you, dear reader, believe that Iraq also represents the growing divide in American politics. On one side, this is the right, who believe in fighting terrorism and protecting freedom, whether at home or abroad. On the other, there is the cowardly left. Willing to appease terrorism in the name of "multiculturalism," they hypocritically turned their backs on the Iraqi people and opposed the war. If they had really cared, they would have supported it.

Or so the rationale of some on the right goes. Obviously, many liberals felt conflicted. They could either join the side of neoconservative naivete, or that of far-leftist isolationism. While both seemed quite unpalatable, it is virtually impossible for the politically active in this country to remain unopinionated. As a result, many on the left and center who supported the war in Iraq (myself included) had nuanced positions ("I support the war but only because...").

Matthew Yglesias (in a new, uglier monthly format) apologizes for this:

What I wanted to see happen wasn't going to happen. I had to throw in with one side or another. I threw in with the wrong side. The bad consequences of the bad policy I got behind are significantly worse than the consequences of the bad policy advocated by the other side would have been. I blame, frankly, vanity. "Bush is right to say we should invade Iraq, but he's going about it the wrong way, here is my nuanced wonderfullness" sounds much more intelligent than some kind of chant at an anti-war rally. In fact, however, it was less intelligent. I got off the bandwagon right before the shooting started, but by then it was far too late -- this was more a case of CYA than a case of efficacious political dissent.

While I think it is correct that this "silent majority" (to borrow a phrase from an earlier era) was responsible for the success of the Bush Administration in beginning the war, I am not so certain that it could have been prevented. While both the far right and left presented arguments that their own members found convincing, those more in the mainstream faced a smooth wall of implicit consent from both the press and the so-called Democratic opposition. I clearly remember my mindset last February and March. While I did not like many of the policies of the Bush government, especially after September 11, I found myself wanting to convince myself that postwar Iraq would be better than life under the authoritarian government of Saddam Hussein. Ignoring the pundit's cries about getting bogged down in street fighting in Baghdad, and Iraq becoming another Vietnam, I implicitly assumed that our military would win. Then, after an Afghanistan-style occupation (including, of course, a true international coalition), an indigenous Iraqi government would come into power, where (this is where the Afghan government has so far failed) they would pursue a foreign policy based on human rights and freedom, regardless of whether or not it conflicted with their American benefactors. The rise of Iraq as a liberal regional power would cause Israel pause (and hopefully, less American military aid), convincing them to come to a just and equitable settlement with the Palestinians, resulting in a Palestinian state in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.