Mike’s letter today is outstanding.
He begins - - -
You’ll probably know by now that McCain and Obama participated in a sort-of debate in California at Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church this past weekend, ostensibly wooing evangelicals. John in Carolina channels one pundit’s take here.
At least we look to be getting at the ground truth on Obama’s misstatements about infanticide and born-alive abortions.
Also, we can continue to be confident that Obama – whenever he senses rocks and shoals on the issues – will still navigate towards racism and elitism, albeit with more subtlety than he’s displayed in the past. Oops, maybe not.
In retrospect - which always allows for 20-20 vision - we probably should have insisted on a return to civilian rule years earlier. But there were concerns that the Pakistani secular parties would want no part of our war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
In the end, this became a self fulfilling prophecy as the new government has sought accommodation with the Taliban rather than war - with mixed results. It remains to be seen whether we will be forced by circumstances to go into Pakistan ourselves and clear out the Taliban infestation.
Such a move would be disastrous for our relations with the Pakistani government but may become necessary if they cannot control their own borders.
Our complex, frustrating, and ultimately failed relationship with Musharraf is the kind of thing that happens in war. No good solutions to nearly insoluble problems doomed it from the start.
Speaking of 20-20 hindsight, let’s end it for today with this interesting Jeff Jacoby column. It starts off:
IT WASN'T so long ago that erstwhile supporters of the war in Iraq were invoking hindsight to justify their newfound opposition to it. "Obviously if we knew then what we know now," Senator Hillary Clinton said in December 2006, when asked whether she regretted her 2002 vote authorizing military action, "I certainly wouldn't have voted that way."
Many of Clinton's colleagues said the same thing. An ABC News survey of senators in January 2007 found that "an overwhelming number" of Democrats who had voted in favor of going to war - including Joe Biden of Delaware, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, John Breaux of Louisiana, and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia - had had a change of heart.
Liberals and Democrats weren't the only ones going wobbly. "If I had known then what I know now about the weapons of mass destruction," Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican, told the Houston Chronicle, "I would not vote to go into Iraq."
The conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg pronounced the Iraq war "a mistake by the most obvious criteria: If we had known then what we know now, we would never have gone to war with Iraq." Others singing from the same hymnal have included Jonathan Rauch, National Journal's respected semi-libertarian essayist, and (somewhat earlier) Michael Howard, the former leader of the British Conservative Party.
The prevailing wisdom 18 months or so ago was that invading Iraq had been, in retrospect, a disastrous blunder. It had led to appalling sectarian fratricide and an ever-climbing body count. Iraqi democracy was deemed a naive pipe dream.
Worst of all, it was said, the fighting in Iraq wasn't advancing the global struggle against Islamist terrorism; by rallying a new generation of jihadists, it was actually impeding it.
Opponents of the war clamored loudly for pulling the plug - even if that meant, as The New York Times acknowledged in a bring-the-troops-home-now editorial last July, "that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave."
But what if we had known then what we know now? ….