Thursday, August 19, 2010

Iraq Navel-Gazing

I haven't discussed my early thinking about the Iraq War very much here. My story isn't the pundit one where I was wrong, but the ordinary person one where I wasn't paying enough attention to politics. 2001-2003 were unusually apolitical years in my life, as I was engrossed in the first two years of philosophy grad school and didn't think about a whole lot else. (Being at Harvard from 1997-2001 where the enemy was nowhere nearby also took a lot of steam out of my political interests. High school in North Carolina back in the Jesse Helms days was really where my political interests grew.)

I was dubious of the venture and on balance thought it was a bad idea for War or Car reasons -- this was going to cost a lot more money than it would probably be worth. But there was the remote possibility that Saddam had a nuclear bomb. I liked the idea of giving Iraqis a stable liberal democracy, but I thought Bush would screw it up (I've now realized that nobody could do it.) But I didn't really get involved.

I was thinking of this when I read Matt's "Why I was wrong about the war back in late 2002-early 2003" post:
it was clear to me that something was badly amiss as soon as Bush/Blair/Aznar pulled the plug on the inspections process. By a couple of months later, it seemed pretty clear that there was no scary WMD program and also that there was no real for what to do.
(There's a word left out of that last sentence, but somehow it leaves the meaning intact.) In a different way, this was a big event for me too. It made me freak out about how foreign policy was being made and pay more attention. I started reading blogs -- Matt's thing was one of the first. I thought about joining up with Dean, but the polling and my general picture of politics suggested that John Edwards was the most plausible instrument of Bush removal, so I joined that team instead, and got interested enough to start this blogging thing in mid-2004.
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