Monday, November 05, 2007

Why It Was A Good Idea To Attack Iraq

From the one and only Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, comes "Why It Was a Good Idea to Attack Iraq". He begins:
Sometimes, just to test my point of view, I like to take the opposite side and defend it. For example, I think attacking Iraq was a huge mistake. So today I will make my best argument for the other side.

I must admit that I think he took most of this from Hillary. But, we'll let him have her argument, just this once.
First, you have to separate the outcome, which is unknown, from the original decision to attack. Hypothetically, it could be a good decision to attack, based on what you knew at the time, but things could go wrong for unforeseen reasons. Likewise, it could have been a bad decision to attack, based on the evidence at the time, and somehow by luck, things might turn out well. So you have to look at the decision and the outcome separately.

He seriously goes on to defend Bush's invasion of Iraq.
The cost of the war in Iraq is immense. But it has several potential benefits:

1. Al-Qaida showed itself to be everyone’s enemy.
2. Iraq has potential to be a U.S. ally, even if true democracy doesn’t take hold.
3. The U.S. sharpened its war-making tools and showed it is willing to use them.
4. Iraqi oil production will eventually increase, even if it takes 20 years.
5. The U.S. has a permanent military base in the Middle East.

He even says:
All things considered, the DECISION to attack Iraq was correct, given the perceived risk of Saddam developing WMD.

Oh, and here's the Republican argument:
When a venture capitalist invests in a particular company, and it goes out of business, he doesn’t conclude that he made a bad decision to invest. He concludes that his strategy is good because he only needs one in ten companies to succeed.

And to finish:
In fact, if we attacked three or four countries looking for WMD, and found none, it still doesn’t invalidate the strategy. You only need to find one country that actually has them, and might use them, to make the entire strategy sensible. At the very least, all that attacking gives some teeth to the U.N. inspectors.

That’s my best argument for why attacking Iraq was both sensible at the time and might work out well in the long run.

I just wish I believed it.

The last line is perfect. Read the whole thing, he says it better than I can copy/paste pieces of it. And if you've ever read Dilbert, you know how great Scott Adams is at trying to make sense of the nonsensical.


  1. Scott Adams is a humorist, not a foreign policy or national security expert, and it shows. Most of his facts are wrong.

    Rather than go point by point, the bottom line is simple. There are two legal ways to invade another country: (1) In response to an attack and (2) Pursuant to a UN Security Council resolution. The United States was not justified in attacking Iraq-- easy call.

    Ironically, Turkey is now poised to invade Iraq in response to a series of terrorist attacks, which is their right under international law. Guess who's telling them not to do it?

  2. I think that was kind of the point, there. Pretty much anyone who thinks we were justified in attacking has to use twisted logic and lies to arrive at the justification.


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