There’s the criticism from the Left: Bush lied, we had no right, think of the children. In other words, bad idea from the start.
There’s the criticism from the Right: Too little, too poorly planned, too stupid. In other words, good idea, screwed up by Mr. Bush.
Regular readers know that I choose: B. I think attempting to liberate Iraq and ram democracy down the unwilling throats of medieval tribesmen, just as we rammed it down the unwilling throats of savage Germans and mentally disturbed Japanese, was not a horrible idea. (I’ve detailed many times what I see as Mr. Bush’s criminal incompetence, so let’s not take the stick to that dead horse again.)
Now we see, mostly on the blogs, an option C: the Toddler Option.
Adult to toddler: Honey, that frog is dead.
Toddler to adult: No it’s not.
Adult: Sweetie, look, his body is in one place and his head is across the street. He’d dead.
Toddler: Unh unh. He likes his head to be there. He always liked it when his head was somewhere else.
What’s fascinating to me is that those who choose the Toddler Option fancy themselves wise. They see themselves as the calm, chin-stroking wise men who refuse to be swayed by momentary passions, harrumph, harrumph.
Toddler: We always said it would be bloody.
Adult: No, you said it would be a cakewalk.
Toddler: Everyone knew there would be difficult patches.
Adult: The Iraqi police are militia death squads, refugees are fleeing the killing that takes place right under our noses, the Iraqi army keeps ‘standing up’ and yet we’re sending more guys, our army is overstretched, our own intel admit that Iraq is the new jihadist training ground and that it’s been a boon to terrorist recruiting, the Syrians are less afraid of us and the Iranians are laughing as they process fissile materials right next door.
Toddler: Yes, of course, exactly what we always said would happen. And a good thing, too.
Adult: Oh, and it’s cost us hundreds of billions.
Toddler: Yes, just as we said: it’s paying for itself. Why, it’s working out marvelously. Just you don’t lose heart. You’ll see.
Here would be my point to the Toddlers: you can’t fix it unless you admit it’s broken. And by refusing from the start to ever admit that anything was wrong, you ensured it never got fixed. And now that frog is dead.
(Cross posted from Mighty Middle.)