The retiring editor of the Economist makes one of the best defenses of having backed the Iraq war that I have yet read. Money quote:

"This will outrage some readers, but I still think the decision was correct—based on the situation at that time, which is all it could have been based on. The risk of leaving Saddam in power was too high. Outside intervention in other countries' affairs is difficult, practically, legally and morally. It should be done only in exceptional circumstances, and backed by exceptional efforts. Iraq qualified on the former. George Bush let us—and America—down on the latter. So, however, did other rich countries: whatever they thought of the invasion, they had a powerful interest in sorting out the aftermath. Most shirked it.
The only argument against our decision that seems to me to have force is that a paper whose scepticism about government drips from every issue should have been sceptical about Mr Bush's government and its ability to do things properly in Iraq. This is correct: we should have been, and we were. But when the choice is between bad options and worse ones, a choice must still be made. Great enterprises can fail—but they fail twice over if they take away our moral courage and prevent us from rising to the next challenge."

Wise, honest, serious words. I second every one.

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