Following my posts about the Virtual Army Experience at Summerfest and "being serious about Iraq, Jay Bullock posts this. He wonders if he is being unfair to me. That's not for me to say, but he is certainly mischaracterizing my position. Perhaps I did not make myself clear. If so (but I don't think so), I will now.
I did not say that people who opposed the Iraq war are not serious or unthinking. As Jay acknowledges, I wrote that the war was a very difficult question. By definition then, I think reasonable and serious and thinking people could have opposed it. (I wasn't in the pundit game back then so I did not publicly say anything and, honestly, I am not sure what I would have said. I think I was very slightly in favor of going ahead but was mostly glad that it wasn't my call.)
My second post ("Being serious ...) was prompted by commenters who repeated the slander that "Bush lied and people died." If you believe that, I do think that you are either misinformed or hopelessly partisan; even not serious.
Jay suggests that I regard people who "oppose war" (by which, I take it, he means pacifists) as "unthinking, uncaring, unfeeling."
Actually, I don't. I have a great deal of respect for clear-eyed pacifists. I'm not saying that only Christians can be pacifists, but there is a quite honorable tradition of pacifism among Christians with a reasonable amount of support in the teachings of Jesus. What bothers me is those who don't want to acknowledge that this pacifism is very likely to lead to earthly slaughter. If you truly want to be a pacifist, you have to accept that and argue that there is a greater good to be served. There are some rather noble historical examples of leaders (Ghandi, King) who understood this. Although, having said that, this type of self effacement may not turn out so well if you aren't up against power that has bought into - call them what you want - Judeo-Christian or western liberal or enlightenment values. Had Ghandi faced Stalin or Hitler rather than the U.K and USA, both would be probably be tragic historical footnotes. It's tought to heighten the contradictions if the society doesn't think that there are any.
Jay goes on to suggest that, if you thought it was a close call, you should be opposed now. But that doesn't follow. What we should do in Iraq today is not controlled by a posthoc reasssessment of whether we should have gone in the first place. I was uncertain about the war ex ante. I am pretty sure that withdrawal now would be a disaster.