David French, at National Review, notes that the DolchÃŸtoss*-ing left-wing commentariat are in no position to blame other people for things going badly in Iraq now.
Rarely have so many people felt so cocky about leaving a genocidal dictator in place. Rarely have so many people felt so sure about the completely unprovable and speculative claim that this hostile genocidal dictatorâ€™s next eleven years in power would have been better for America than the decision to depose him. And rarely have these same people been so cocky about working so hard to ensure the failure of the course of action they opposed, then crowed about their success even as they blamed their ideological opponents for the resulting human toll.
This I believe: America made some profound mistakes at the beginning of the war, bad choices that if made differently could have had a material, beneficial effect on the course and conduct of the war. In hindsight, I believe we shouldnâ€™t have disbanded Iraqâ€™s military and its civil service. In hindsight, we shouldnâ€™t have limited our footprint on the ground. In hindsight, we shouldnâ€™t have waited so long to adopt the counterinsurgency tactics of the Surge. The list of mistakes could go on, but war is hard, the enemy always has a vote, and sometimes only cruel experience can teach us the right lessons.
This I know: America has made profound â€” and far more costly â€” mistakes at the beginning of virtually every war. The opening months of World War II were a national nightmare, rendered more palatable to the public only through large-scale censorship that sometimes blocked the American peopleâ€™s knowledge of defeats that cost more lives in one night than America would lose in entire years in Iraq or Afghanistan. In the Korean War, profound diplomatic and intelligence failures led to headlong retreats and mass-scale slaughters of unprepared soldiers. In the Civil War, poor tactics and dreadful leadership almost destroyed the nation less than one century after its founding, as a Union with immense manpower and industrial benefits arguably came within a few improper orders and missed battlefield opportunities from crumbling in the face of the Army of Northern Virginia. The list of horrifying mistakes could go on, but â€” as I just said â€” war is hard, the enemy always has a vote, and sometimes only cruel experience can teach us the right lessons.
This I also know, because I was there: In Iraq, we learned from our mistakes, and the Iraq we left â€” even as early as late September 2008, when I flew home â€” was a far, far better place than it is today, a far better place than it was under Saddam, and an actual ally of the United States. …
We are all responsible for our words and actions. Even though my influence is minimal (especially compared to my colleagues posting here on NRO and syndicated nationally) I sometimes agonize over individual words in blog posts. And I still think every day about the choices I made in Iraq. But if Iâ€™m responsible â€” as a supporter of the war from the beginning and a veteran of that same conflict â€” for what I say and do, so are the victory lappers. And I would not trade places with a group that helped manufacture the â€œwar wearinessâ€ that gripped an American public that has, apart from a tiny minority, sacrificed nothing for this conflict and would continue to sacrifice nothing even if we maintained the small force in Iraq necessary to secure our gains.
You helped America leave, and in so doing, you helped waste the sacrifice of those few who served.