False Notes On Civil War Fears
The New York Times issues a warning about an impending civil war in Iraq that sounds a couple of false notes. Its editorial this morning attempts a historical review of the Iraqis that misses a couple of germane points while it scolds the administration indirectly for causing the problem by toppling Saddam Hussein:
Iraq has moved perilously close to civil war. Everyone who knows anything about the tortured history of that country, cobbled together from disparate parts by British colonial officials less than a century ago, has always dreaded such an outcome.Fear of civil war stayed the hand of the first President George Bush, when he turned back American troops and left Saddam Hussein in power. It generated much of the opposition to the current President Bush's invasion in 2003. Yet many critics of the invasion, including this page, believed that the dangers from civil war were so dire that American troops, once in, were obliged to remain as long as there was a conceivable route to a just peace.
I agree that civil war in Iraq remains a dangerous potential outcome. Had we left it to the Left in 2002, however, that is exactly what we would have today by their own design. I find their belated concern over the consequences of civil war somewhat disingenuous now.