Sunday, December 11, 2005

What If...

We hear hear a daily litany of complaints about what a mess the Iraq war is. Many, particularly non-Iraqis, are pining for the "stability" the ancienne regime brought to the region. Comedy Central's Jon Stewart regularly does a bit entitled "Mess-o-potamia." Hand-wringing abounds, "If only we had never gone in there."

Any suggestion by the President or other administration officials that, even without finding WMD, toppling Saddam might have been A Good Thing is spun as an unwillingness to admit to a mistake. But was it a mistake? In a column on OpinionJournal Holman Jenkins takes a look at what things might be like today if everyone who opposes the war now had opposed it then and prevented Saddam's fall. Extrapolating from the pre-invasion situation:
Let's see: Sanctions have collapsed; the French and Russians are keen on rehabilitating the Iraqi dictator and his military. He benefits from the sharp increase in oil prices, whether or not he still labors under the U.N.'s corrupted and creaky Oil for Food program (most likely it would be gone). The U.S. no-fly zones still exist only on paper, because neighboring countries won't let our planes fly armed. Kurds in the North and Shiites in the South are either preparing for civil war or seeking coexistence with a resurgent Saddam.
It's an interesting speculation.

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