- The war was a mistake;
- Our soldiers are victims;
- Lives lost in Iraq have been wasted; and
- We are losing or have already lost.
Now, some of you are undoubtedly confused. I hear you saying, "David, Jacob Weisberg is a fearless truthteller, but I'm confused. Isn't everyone and his brother shouting these 'truths' as loudly as they can? And, for truths, aren't they surprisingly false?" Indeed, you are right. I don't write for an online magazine, but it seems to me that the real unspeakable truths are:
- The war was the right thing to do both ex ante and ex post
- Our soldiers are doing what they signed up to do;
- Lives lost in Iraq have bought us important gains;
- We've already won the war.
In fact, going to war turns out to have been a better idea after the fact than we could have known before hand. After all, we thought we were attacking a nation with stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, when we were really attacking a run-of-the-mill Arab army with weapons systems degraded by sanctions. Apparently, Slate would think the war a much better idea if we had lost 10,000 troops to poison gas during the invasion.
I wouldn't try telling the troops that they're victims. Even at this late date, with the entire mainstream media constantly repeating Weisberg's unspeakable truths, soldiers are volunteering for their 3rd or 4th tours in Iraq. A truly unspeakable truth is that American soldiers, by and large, like doing what they volunteered and trained to do. During the 1970s, when the Army in Germany was at its lowest point, with rampant drug use, malingering, insubordination and desertion, everyone perked right up for the annual week or two of maneuvers the Army could afford.
This truth mostly overlaps with the next, although I'm not conceding that any life spent in a losing cost is wasted. Some fights are worth fighting even if we lose. But here, the fact of our taking casualties alone accomplishes an important national purpose: it proves that we are willing to take casualties. Obviously, the Democrats and the left are doing their best to disprove this fact, but nevertheless we have stayed in Iraq for almost four years while regularly losing troops to bombs. A rational foe will have to decide whether defying us is worth a long war and is bound to note, regardless of what else is true, that Saddam was dethroned, humiliated and then executed.
Saddam is gone, a new government is in place, the sanctions are gone, Al Qaeda is distracted and concentrating on the middle east and we've given our enemies food for thought by carrying through, not giving up (yet) and doing all this at an insignificant monetary cost.
What other truths do we not dare speak about the war?