Matthew Yglesias on the Iraq war

Matthew Yglesias on the Iraq war:
The harsh reality is that this was not a noble undertaking done for good reasons. It was a criminal enterprise launched by madmen cheered on by a chorus of fools and cowards. And it’s seen as such by virtually everyone all around the world — including but by no means limited to the Arab world. But it’s impolitic to point this out in the United States, and it’s clear that even a president-elect who had the wisdom not to be suckered in by the War Fever of 2002 has no intention of really acting to marginalize the bad actors. Which, I think, makes sense for his political objectives. But if Americans want to play a constructive role in world affairs, it’s vitally important for us to get in touch with the reality of what the past eight years of US foreign policy have been and how they’re seen and understood by people who aren’t stirred by the shibboleths of American patriotism.

It's true, but I'm a bit puzzled why this is still a story.
He only wrote about what was a pretty standard opinion on the Iraq War in Germany even before the war began.

Sorry, this time no #1 for "U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!".

The time for painful insights will come for most who became emotionally engaged pro-war since 2002, and I bet that many will try to use painkillers like a "stab-in-the-back" theory. It's already in the making since 2006 by people like Rove, Rice and Feith.

Sven Ortmann

P.S.: ETA. for the first 'impolite' comment is 2000.


  1. No impolite comments but why the hell would, "Americans want to play a constructive role in world affairs"? We seem to muck it up. Others seem to think they can do it better and leave them to it. My answer is to have no role, constructive or otherwise, that doesn't benefit us economically. All state to state level conversations should involve one question, "CAN WE TRADE"? The rest is irrelevant and best left to the British, French and Germans, bright lights all, when it comes to foreign policy.

  2. I would dispute Yglesias's assertion that this wasn't a noble undertaking. It most certainly was... but who cares? If you want to feed the poor, a very noble undertaking, and your methods cause the poor to starve then your intentions matter not. At the end of the day what we're looking at is a country (the US) filled with fuzzy headed ideas (Yglesisa's article is a perfect example of this. At some point he's likely to end up running the Iraq war) and using said ideas as a substitute for no Grand Strategy.

  3. We'll learn about the real reasons probably in three decades - the reasons for the war were so fuzzy (and statements about this were changing) that it's moot to discuss the reasons today.

    My opinion is that they had a Grand Strategy and that this GS led to the Iraq War - and it was a very poor strategy based on assumptions that were unfounded illusions.
    - - -
    I don't think that the large European nations have a good foreign policy - especially not Mr. Erratic, Sarkozy.

    The most impressive European foreign politicians seemed to come from countries like Finland, Norway and Luxembourg in the past two decades.

  4. EN : I concur. CAN WE TRADE is a more earthly goal in contrast to the spread of "democracy" & "freedom".

  5. Matthew Yglesias is a moron. There, I said it. I don't care about what the Europeans think, their historical record gives them no place to comment on imperialism or foreign policy. What we tried to accomplish was a noble cause and would have benefitted both the United States and the Iraqi people.

    Fools and cowards supported the war he says? He is the only fool here. In his blind anti-American rant he ignores that many good men supported the war because they believed Saddam had WMDs and they had good reason to do so. It was a chance to remove a ruthless and somewhat insane dictator, destroy any WMDs he might of had, create a new democratic Iraq that would benefit the Iraqi people, and create an ally in the Middle East that could well help counter our fanatical enemies.

    Should we have entered Iraq now? Knowing how much of a mess that country is and knowing that they did not have nuclear weapons or other WMDs no we should not have. Yet regardless we were trying to accomplish a good thing.

    Now you "enlightened" Europeans are telling us to leave and let the Iraqis die? That is really ironic what you have to say about the United States not giving enough money to the UN so it can be given to ruthless dictators or "lost" in some member's pocket.

    I will be always proud of my country and will never apologize for Iraq! I am proud of how hard and well American soldiers fought an immoral, cowardly enemy in Iraq, I am proud of what we tried to accomplish. So many of you Europeans would turn America into a faithless, self-hating, militarily weak, and ultra-liberal shadow of what we once were. Yet I and certainly most real Americans are determined to never let that happen.

    Never call Iraq a defeat, because when we leave it will be up to the Iraqi people to decide their fate.

  6. "anti-American". That word is a sad joke itself, apparently almost exclusively being used by intolerant people who cannot grasp that criticism isn't the same as hatred or "anti-something".

    It's interesting to me that I didn't observe ANY "anti-..." complaints like that from any other country, only U.S.American right wingers seem to use such a term at all.
    There was some "anti-Soviet" talk decades ago, but with a different meaning true to the word.