So Jonathan Kay has joined the growing ranks of conservatives turning against the Iraq war. I wonder about two things. First, how was it that neoconservatives, who were always skeptical about the Arab world, while liberals displayed considerable credulity about it, at least during the 1970s and 1989s, fell into the trap of thinking that Iraq could be turned into a flourishing democracy? Why should Iraq have been an exception to the violent feuds and religious battles that plague the region?
Second, Kay states that had the Iraq war been planned for more effectively by the Bush administration, it might have been a success. This is the case that Thomas Ricks makes in his book “Fiasco.” But is it true? Maybe the venture was doomed, no matter how well anyone prepared for it. Certainly the lack of preparation is glaring. But it’s at least worth wondering, however unpleasant the thought may be, about whether Iraq and other Middle East countries are simply mired in internecine hatreds that will take decades, if not centuries, to overcome.
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