tragedy

From Andrew Sullivan, whose blog has become a backbone of my daily reading, a quote.

I am taking it out of its larger context, which is a set of notes and commentary on a Joe Klein essay, but even as a standalone it captures what has gone so severely toxic on the radical right.

On the Iraq war:

…so many who did far more to create this catastrophe and even now express no regret, no introspection, no sense of tragedy or responsibility – just the neoconservative formula of never explaining and never apologizing, but moving on and on to the next war and the next…

Add that to my list of things that distinguish fact-based people from the rest: a sense of tragedy.

I can remember arguing with my best friend that the war in Iraq would end with us in a worse position, far worse, than when we started but that it was nonetheless the right thing to do, because civilized people could not tolerate the continued existence of Saddam Hussein.

Saddam was on my short list of people to whom the word genocidal might be accurately applied.

To this day, I find it hard to let go of the belief we did something good when we got rid of him, which means I still have an insufficient sense of the tragic, how doing one good can do a world of harm. But I acknowledge that a.) I was wrong and that b.) like Klein, who writes of his actions in the runup to war – “It demanded a clarity that I failed to summon” – I equivocated, argued and avoided the truth, that (to quote Klein again) “The essential principle is immutable: We should never go to war unless we have been attacked or are under direct, immediate threat of attack.”

Sullivan’s blog entry here.

Joe Klein’s essay here.

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