Krauthammer and the Iraqi Choice to Engage in Civil War

Charles Krauthammer had a piece that appeared in the National Review called Iraq’s choice. The premise is that Iraqis were given their freedom, and collectively they made a choice. “They chose civil war.” I’m not kidding. Its this simple. The choice, of course, leads to a situation in which “Arabs kill Arabs and Shiites kill Shiites and Sunnis kill all in a spasm of violence that is blind and furious.”

Now, one might thing that not all of the Iraqis have chosen Civil War. One might think that at least some have had violence imposed upon them like some massive negative externality. But if Krauthammer feels that way, I’m not seeing it from his piece. The closest he comes is one time writing that “many have chosen civil war.” But for the most part, the choice seems to be more, well, collective in Krauthammer’s piece. But that’s about it. He does write about opposition to the Civil War – in fact, close to a third of the piece seems to be about trying to reduce the violence. But the only ones doing anything to reduce violence, from reading his piece, seem to be Americans. But those Iraqis, they have made a choice, and denying that its an Iraqi choice “infantilizes Arabs.”

Which raises the question – for a guy like Krauthammer, who believes in free markets and choice – what is the justification for interfering with the choice of a bunch of individuals who have all collectively chosen to engage in Civil War? What are American soldiers doing, interfering with the freedom of the Iraqis to butcher each other as they have chosen to do? There have been so many incarnations of what is going on in Iraq according to folks like Krauthammer. There was the cakewalk, then the last throes and the dead enders, and who can even count the corners that were turned? And they’ve moved the goalposts so many times, redefined victory so many ways. Along the way, anyone who noted discrepancies was tarred as a traitor and was giving aid to the enemy. So if things don’t improve, and somehow, I don’t think they will (I have said before, I remember Reagan, GHW, and Clinton, but this crowd is qualitatively very different and not in a good way), what’s left for guys like Krauthammer? Are they going to conclude that, well, we did the Iraqis a favor by giving them a choice that Saddam denied them, and look, they are better off now, happily acting upon their choice?

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