Thursday, February 12, 2004

THE RIGHT MISTAKE

The invasion of Iraq was a mistake, but it was a "justified" mistake, according to Jonathan Rauch.

His rationale is simple:

A policeman shoots a robber who has killed in the past and who brandishes what seems to be a gun. The gun turns out to be a cellphone. The policeman expects a thorough investigation (and ought to cooperate). In the end, if he is exonerated, it is not because he made no mistake but because his mistake was justified. Reasonable people, facing uncertainty, would have thought they saw a gun.

The world believed Saddam had "a gun". He'd used it in the past. Reasonable people would assume he'd use it in the future. If it turns out he didn't have the gun anymore, deposing him is still justified, as would be the shooting of the robber by the policeman.

Case closed.


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