Comments on: Being wrong & never paying the price: a Washington journalist testifies on the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq http://www.historiann.com/2013/03/18/being-wrong-never-paying-the-price-a-washington-journalist-testifies-on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-the-invasion-of-iraq/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:41:03 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2013/03/18/being-wrong-never-paying-the-price-a-washington-journalist-testifies-on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-the-invasion-of-iraq/comment-page-1/#comment-1397546 Fri, 22 Mar 2013 17:10:59 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20883#comment-1397546 quixote–when I said “we never learn,” I guess I meant lessons about life in the macro sense. Humans are very good at using technology (fire, cooked food, coal, railroads, telegraphy, petroleum, the internet)to solve problems & make immediate gains in the short term (within the span of a human lifetime). But learning the things that Erasmus teaches? Not so much.

albrt, I fear that you are right about the first gulf war & its limited aims & duration. Now that we’re over Vietnam syndrome, I guess the next generation will confront Iraq War syndrome.

]]>
By: albrt http://www.historiann.com/2013/03/18/being-wrong-never-paying-the-price-a-washington-journalist-testifies-on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-the-invasion-of-iraq/comment-page-1/#comment-1396925 Fri, 22 Mar 2013 05:53:43 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20883#comment-1396925 I was a sergeant in the Army National Guard in 2001, considering going for a commission based on my civilian education. I had also been in a NG infantry unit during the first gulf war. I vocally opposed that war but was willing to go if called up.

It was therapeutic to be able to put on a uniform and go guard something on September 11, 2001, but it became clear very quickly we were headed for disaster. I got out before hostilities started (there was plenty of time to do that unless you were on a very long contract) and I never regretted it.

I don’t think it’s possible for anyone who had a 6th grade education and an internet connection in 2003 to claim that the war made sense on any rational level. It clearly didn’t.

I agree gender was a big factor. Other factors I haven’t heard mentioned yet that may help account for the plainly irrational consensus:

1. I think a lot of people were suffering serious cognitive dissonance based on Bush v. Gore. The war allowed them to set that aside and support the Leader.

2. Some people really wanted to complete the recovery from post-Vietnam syndrome, AKA Jimmy Carter syndrome, and we didn’t kill enough people in the first gulf war to do that.

3. (Perhaps the most obvious) a lot of people are just plain racist about the middle east and other Muslim regions. Unfortunately there are a lot of things going on in these regions that make this an easy sell.

]]>
By: truffula http://www.historiann.com/2013/03/18/being-wrong-never-paying-the-price-a-washington-journalist-testifies-on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-the-invasion-of-iraq/comment-page-1/#comment-1396512 Thu, 21 Mar 2013 23:12:01 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20883#comment-1396512 But then how to explain the fact that we’re not still just another species of chimp in the trees?

Our ancestors figured out how to cook their food.

]]>
By: quixote http://www.historiann.com/2013/03/18/being-wrong-never-paying-the-price-a-washington-journalist-testifies-on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-the-invasion-of-iraq/comment-page-1/#comment-1396424 Thu, 21 Mar 2013 21:46:13 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20883#comment-1396424 The human animal really never learns. (Well, some of us do, but we’re not the ones who get into positions of power in order to make a difference!)

Agreed. But then how to explain the fact that we’re not still just another species of chimp in the trees?

Somehow, it must actually be wrong. Maybe it’s a problem of scale. Maybe, as you say, if we lived for a few thousand years, that might be long enough to start detecting a difference.

]]>
By: Shelley http://www.historiann.com/2013/03/18/being-wrong-never-paying-the-price-a-washington-journalist-testifies-on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-the-invasion-of-iraq/comment-page-1/#comment-1396011 Thu, 21 Mar 2013 15:49:31 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20883#comment-1396011 What really makes me tear my hair out is Condi Rice being feted and interviewed as a “gracious” expert.

]]>
By: truffula http://www.historiann.com/2013/03/18/being-wrong-never-paying-the-price-a-washington-journalist-testifies-on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-the-invasion-of-iraq/comment-page-1/#comment-1395482 Thu, 21 Mar 2013 07:40:49 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20883#comment-1395482 The fellow who wrote this blog post wrote an entire dissertation on the topic of public peace intellectuals (and why they are rare relative to public war intellectuals). It’s interesting work.

]]>
By: Ellie http://www.historiann.com/2013/03/18/being-wrong-never-paying-the-price-a-washington-journalist-testifies-on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-the-invasion-of-iraq/comment-page-1/#comment-1395331 Thu, 21 Mar 2013 04:43:48 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20883#comment-1395331 Ah, the underpants gnomes. The perfect metaphor for almost everything about the 1990s-2000s, from foreign policy to the dot-com boom.

]]>
By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2013/03/18/being-wrong-never-paying-the-price-a-washington-journalist-testifies-on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-the-invasion-of-iraq/comment-page-1/#comment-1395216 Thu, 21 Mar 2013 02:53:00 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20883#comment-1395216 Paul, I agree that there was a lot of wishful thinking a decade ago. I wish every day were all sunshine and ponies without the sunscreen, skin cancer, and all of that $hit in the barn over there, but I *know* from experience that I’m extremely unlikely to get the nice things without the tiresome prevention and/or cleanup. Yet that was the kind of crazy thinking I remember being taken oh, so very seriously.

(Does anyone else remember the Underpants Gnomes from South Park? “Step one, collect underpants. Step two. . . mmmmmmuuuuuhhh. Step three: profit!!!!” Our foreign policy was being run by the Underpants Gnomes.)

Erasmus was right. The human animal really never learns. (Well, some of us do, but we’re not the ones who get into positions of power in order to make a difference!) I’ve been thinking recently about how very short the human lifespan really is, and I think this is a part of our inability to learn enduring lessons as a species. Every generation thinks they’ve got it licked. Every generation thinks they’re an exception. There must be some kind of evolutionary advantage to this kind of optimism, but there sure is a down side to it, too.

]]>
By: tony grafton http://www.historiann.com/2013/03/18/being-wrong-never-paying-the-price-a-washington-journalist-testifies-on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-the-invasion-of-iraq/comment-page-1/#comment-1395053 Thu, 21 Mar 2013 00:20:38 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20883#comment-1395053 Back in the sixteenth century, the scholar and satirist Desiderius Erasmus wrote a thoughtful essay on the theme “Dulce bellum inexpertis”–”War is sweet, to those who have never been in one.” Those humanists: foolish, innocent beings. Especially when compared to the hard-eyed realists who frame polices and make decisions.

]]>
By: Paul S. http://www.historiann.com/2013/03/18/being-wrong-never-paying-the-price-a-washington-journalist-testifies-on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-the-invasion-of-iraq/comment-page-1/#comment-1394985 Wed, 20 Mar 2013 23:13:41 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20883#comment-1394985 I was one of the people who supported the war 10 years ago. I regret that now, though I would disagree that anyone with half a brain should have been able to see that it was a mistake. I think support for the war came less from outright stupidity than from wishful thinking, which intelligence does not grant immunity from.

I do wish that more of the commentators, journalists, etc., who supported the war would be willing to admit their mistakes and do some serious soul-searching about how they made their mistakes in judgment. Perhaps some of them did do this privately, but very few seem to be willing to do it publicly.

]]>