Jonah Goldberg's column on Oct. 20 ("Iraq was a Worthy Mistake") was well reasoned and logical. It was a bit of a surprise given that in the past Goldberg has been a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq, to the point of blindly following White House dogma without question. Alas, despite his reasoned tone he still missed a few facts that are worth emphasizing.
For example, he stated: "The failure to find weapons of mass destruction is a side issue." We have to remember that a UN inspection team said there were no WMD, then a US inspection team said there were no WMD, finally the intel people said there was no clear and absolute evidence of WMD. Any other administration, presented with all this lack of evidence, would have proceeded very cautiously. Not so this administration. The lack of evidence makes it abundantly clear that war was planned, regardless of what anyone said. That is why Goldberg is mistaken in dismissing this vital fact as a side issue. It clearly reveals that the whole WMD issue was disingenuous and the administration was going to war, just as the Project for a New American Century dictated even before 9/11. Didn't this White House tell us that character was very important? They were right, the WMD argument drives home just how important character is and how they came up short.
Further on Goldberg averred "... calling Saddam Hussein's bluff after 9/11 was the right thing to do." What bluff is he referring to? Unlike the WMD issue, which had a lot of people confused as to the true facts, there was no doubt here. No one was suggesting Hussein had anything to do with 9/11. That was simply a red herring thrown out by the administration to play on the justifiable fears of Americans of a 9/11 repeat. Telling us Hussein was involved in 9/11 was an outrageous lie, which served to shore up the WMD uncertainties. The White House shouldn't be let off the hook on this either; if anything, this out and out lie was the more egregious of the two facts Goldberg wants to dismiss.
But his recommendation to ask the Iraqis to vote on keeping American forces is certainly an interesting idea. You have to give him credit for offering up fresh thinking in contrast to the 'stay the course' mantra we hear every day. I recently heard another idea worthy of consideration. It was two pronged: first, pull some US troops out into Kuwait. They remain close enough to lend credence yet the move suggests a small step toward self rule in Iraq. Second, ask the UN to replace those troops leaving Iraq. This is another small step toward self rule. Of course, we would have to relinquish some control of military actions to the UN - but that is a small price to pay to start unraveling the civil war and getting our troops out of harm's way.
This idea came from a Democrat. It is evidence of Goldberg's accurate acknowledgement that "In the dumbed-down debate we're having, there are only two sides: pro-war and antiwar. This is silly."
Hopefully, as more voices such as staunch supporter Goldberg's offer up new ideas, perhaps the myopic White House will begin to consider new strategies.