A conservative reader writes:
1. Having been absolutely certain that the war was the right thing to have done, and that we would prevail easily, I am no longer confident that I can discern when emotion is affecting my judgment unduly.
All said, the war was the right thing to do. Think hard about the alternatives, there were no easy outs. That said, I agree with Rod that there was too much emotion and too little objective thinking going into the war.
2. I no longer implicitly trust governmental institutions, including the military -- neither in their honesty nor their competence.
Rod might add non government institutions on that list, such as the Catholic Church. Frankly, it is unhealthy to "implicitly trust" any man made institution (or a sure fired way to end up very disappointed).
3. I no longer believe the Republican Party is superior in foreign policy judgment to the Democrats.
I am ready to agree to this and then Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid open their mouths and destroy the illusion (and that takes real talent given the foriegn policy bungling of Cheney in Charge).
4. I no longer have confidence in the ability of our military, or any military, to solve deep cultural and civilizational problems through force alone. I mean, I thought nothing could stand in the way of the strongest military fielded since the days of ancient Rome. No more.
Sobering but correct analysis (in a general sense). Of course the military did not lose this war, the leadership did. Had we "gone in heavy" and swept control of Iraq with a sufficient occupation force--we would probably not be facing the situation we are facing now. I still disagree with those who claim this war was never winable.
5. I have a far greater appreciation for how rare and fragile liberal democracy is, and a corresponding revulsion at the American assumption that it's the natural state of mankind. Which is to say, the war has made me rethink my ideas about human nature, and I'm far more pessimistic now than I ever was.
God Bless America. Then again, before Rod gets too depressed, lets remember that liberal democracy has spread through most of Europe, in parts of South America, in Japan and parts of Asia. Africa and the Middle East still need a lot of work, but to wallow in pessimism over this is not warranted.