« The Drums Beat Again:… | Home | To Make the Anti-War … »

Iraq, Iran, Eric C and a “Who” Song: The Case Against War With Iran

(To read the rest of our series, “The Case Against War with Iran”, please click here.)

I spend a lot of time daydreaming, retroactively replaying the past, thinking and dreaming about what I could or should have done to change the course of my life, knowing what I know now. (Buy stock in Apple, for instance.) More a fun diversion than a punishment, I usually don’t daydream wistfully or with regret.

Lately, I’ve been dreaming about stopping the Iraq war. If someone smart enough had reported the right information about Iraqi WMDs in the lead up to the war, they could have stopped it. (I even have a pet theory on how to do this: you convince two, just two, senators to go in, read the appendix in the Oct 2, 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on “Curveball” and leak it. Then you would go and talk to Joe Wilson. How would you disprove the al Qaeda link? I don’t know.)

This day dream does fill me with regret, because at the time, I knew I should have said something. I should have been louder. Outside of a marching a few symbolic protests in an already liberal city, Santa Barbara, I did nothing to stop it.

I felt then, and feel now, that war with Iraq was a mistake. The WMDs never materialized; neither did the connection to al Qaeda. The war lasted longer and cost more than any official predicted. We didn’t lose nearly as many soldiers as we thought we would--relative to previous wars, American soldiers came out okay, casualty-wise--but what we saved in lost American lives, Iraqis lost in the tens of thousands. We destabilized a country and strengthened Iran.

As Michael mentioned yesterday, we weren’t blogging at the time. Hell, I didn’t even write. I protested the war, but with a tenth of the energy I put into environmental activism. My senior year of college (2006), I helped out the anti-war protesters, even though that movement, chaotic and run by anarchists, embarrassed me.

Which brings me to the present day. I graduated from college, and now Michael and I run a (relatively) popular and somewhat influential blog.

A few weeks ago, Michael approached me about writing something on Iran, and I rejected it. Then I remembered my history with the Iraq war. We need to say something about war with Iran. At the very least, we need to provide one voice, that says, “Maybe this isn’t a good idea.”

Because in 2003, we didn’t have enough voices making that case. In a gross over-simplification of the run up to the war in Iraq, the counter-voices to the war consisted of a handful of reporters writing articles that landed on page A18. (More on this in a later post.) We want to be a mega-phone putting that information on page A1, if for no other reason so that pundits can’t say, “Well, everyone felt this way when the war started”, like they did with Iraq.

And now, a caveat, and it’s a big one. I’m not taking this task lightly.  After I agreed to do a series on Iran, I laid out the issues for Michael C:

1. I want us to be right.

2. I want to know we’re right because we’ve done as much research as two bloggers without access to classified information can do on this topic.

3. Finally, I want us to add to the debate. We don’t want to regurgitate other people’s argument; we want to add to the discourse.

I believe we’ve met those criteria. So we’re starting this series. As The Who said, we won’t get fooled again.