THE WAR….Matt Yglesias and Sam Rosenfeld got some backup this weekend for their contention that the Iraq war was doomed to failure no matter how well it had been prosecuted. After a long lead-in, here’s the conclusion of New York Times reporter John Burns:
My guess is that history will say that the forces that we liberated by invading Iraq were so powerful and so uncontrollable that virtually nothing the United States might have done, except to impose its own repressive state with half a million troops, which might have had to last ten years or more, nothing we could have done would have effectively prevented this disintegration that is now occurring.
The really odd thing here is that I found this via John Podhoretz at The Corner, who calls it “frank” and “powerful.” But even though Burns acknowledges that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a uniquely bad regime, even by Mideast standards, the obvious conclusion from his comments is that (a) as a way of liberalizing the Middle East the war was a bad idea from the get-go and (b) further military action in the Middle East is likely to backfire too. Is that a conclusion that Podhoretz and his fellow Cornerites are willing to accept?