Want to know why people won't come out and say they were wrong? This is why. If you are obnoxious to people who admit you were right, you guarantee that doing so is one mistake they will never make again.

Update To everyone who asked "Why would the behavior of the people you're arguing with matter?" I can only respond: so what have you learned during your visit to our planet?

I have no particular interest in the opinions of my harsher critics on this topic; the only interesting criticisms of my thought process so far have been made by me. But surely you have noticed that America has now hardened into two opposing camps who are often less interested in getting the right answer than in sticking it to the people on the other side? Both sides are guilty of this, and I wish it would stop, because this isn't improving matters in Iraq. Indeed, if you want us to stay there for another hundred years or so, the best way to do it is to completely alienate the moderates.

I am not immune to the charms of unleashing your fiery sense of righteousness upon the sinners of the world, but I try to limit my outbursts to largely lost causes. If I were that sure that I was a foreign policy genius, I would probably try to avoid doing things that manufacture more McCain voters.

Something else to keep in mind is that unless you are planning to die soon, you are going to get some major policy question badly wrong in the future, because no one is as smart as some of the war opponents have decided they must be. And every word that you type mocking the repentant supporters of the war will, I guarantee, be hauled up and thrown in your face. It is best not to fling calumny about other peoples' decisions unless you are very confident that you will be able to bat a thousand for the next forty years or so.

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