Monday, March 18, 2013

Look back in sorrow-more-than anger

Image from Seven Deadly Sinners.

There were, it turned out, no weapons of mass destruction; it was obvious in retrospect that the Bush administration deliberately misled the nation into war. And the war — having cost thousands of American lives and scores of thousands of Iraqi lives, having imposed financial costs vastly higher than the war’s boosters predicted — left America weaker, not stronger, and ended up creating an Iraqi regime that is closer to Tehran than it is to Washington. 
So did our political elite and our news media learn from this experience? It sure doesn’t look like it. 
The really striking thing, during the run-up to the war, was the illusion of consensus. To this day, pundits who got it wrong excuse themselves on the grounds that “everyone” thought that there was a solid case for war. Of course, they acknowledge, there were war opponents — but they were out of the mainstream.
That's what's wrong with President Obama's insistence that we look forward rather than back. It's not that we need to punish those responsible—I'd love to see Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz in jail, but it's not necessary—but that people should understand what happened, how it happened, and how it can be avoided in future.

Is the future something like the spot under the lamppost where the drunk is looking for his dropped twenty-dollar bill? Do we look forward on the retroactionary view that the light's better there? Huh.

Afternoon Update:

What I said about jail not being necessary does not apply to that grinning shit Tony Blair, especially after today's news, and thinking back I'm not sure I mean it at all. But if we could practice Shunning—if they could be kept off TV and out of boardrooms—that would be sufficient for my needs.

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