I haven’t written about Iraq in a while; I think I’ve pretty much said all I want to say on the subject, and anyway events have moved on. We can still argue about whether or not the war was right or wrong, but that seems secondary these days to what we should actually do now. To surge or not to surge? I just don’t know the answer to that question, and although I weakly favour the former I think the question is best left to military strategists.
Anyway, despite all that, I did somehow manage to watch more of Question Time last night than I’d intended. It was an Iraq special, and it was annoying. Depending on your viewpoint certain bits would no doubt stand out as being more annoying than others, but for me the performance of John Bolton deserves comment. The Bush administration’s former ambassador to the United Nations, and a staunch supporter of the Iraq war, he spent the majority of the programme despairing of other people; he was by turns astonished, depressed, or plain old disturbed that there appeared to be a large number of people out there who disagreed with him. This suggested a life so sheltered as to make him wholly unsuited for – but probably representative of – high office. But it was when summing up, when reflecting on the lessons of the Iraq war in general and the policy of pre-emption in particular, that he came up with this peerless gem.
You have to take action against these threats before they become real. It’s no solace to the victims that you can retaliate after. There’s no consequence that can bring back the people who have been killed by these weapons of mass destruction, or the consequence of what happens living under the threat of their use by people like Saddam Hussein, Ahmadinejad of Iran, Kim Jong Il of North Korea.
Well said, Sir! How ridiculous it is to expect us to just sit around waiting in case some dictator perhaps invades a neighbour, to idly daydream while he may sponsor havoc abroad, to patiently ignore that fact that he might be planning an attack and that innocent people could be killed. No thank you! Much better to remove such uncertainties, to ensure that people are killed, and to guarantee there are is a war, but a war fought on our terms, at a time of our choosing, to at least make sure that the first wave of people killed are either citizens of other nations or merely our own armed forces (that is their job); so we can be certain that those initial victims are at least blown to smithereens by our own sweet bombs of liberty. That’s the way.
By the by, I believe that if you lost 5 inches off the top of John Bolton’s heid it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.