In his column at Slate, Christopher Hitchens takes on the unpleasant task of trying to distinguish the principles behind his support of the invasion of Iraq, now that the role of "little gargoyle" and Hitchens-nemesis Henry Kissinger in forming Bush’s Iraq policy has been revealed.  In so doing, Hitchens takes Kissinger (and his fellow-travelers in the "realist" camp of Iraq war skeptics) for being overly concerned with avoiding "instability."

The "instability" resulting from the invasion of Iraq that most worried me (and, I imagine, many others excluding, tragically, Hitchens) was not that of Iraqi governmental institutions, or even any of the local players in the Middle East, but rather that of the Bush Administration. All of the purported concerns that the Bushies allegedly had that necessitated regime change—WMD, pursuing al-Qaeda, fostering democracy—have been given systematic short shrift by Bush’s actual policies.

  • Russian and Pakistani nuclear weapons remain unsecured due to willful neglect by the Bush Administration, both before and after 9/11.
  • Osama Bin Laden was permitted to escape and the Taliban has reconsolidated control over southern Afghanistan.
  • Safeguarding the Iraqi infrastructure and giving the Iraqi professional class reason to hope that strident political participation would not result in kidnapping and assassination have taken a back seat to force-protection and corporate graft in the Green Zone.

The best reason for opposing the Bush-led invasion of Iraq has always been that Bush clearly never believed in any of his stated war aims or principles, and that he valued the invasion and occupation solely to the degree that they created circumstances of domestic political advantage for (loyal) Republicans.

That’s instability.

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