End the Crusade

The debacle in Iraq reaffirms the lesson of a thousand years ago: there is no such thing as a good crusade; divine missions are not conducive to sensible policy.

Issue: Jan-Feb 2007

 Here they go again. After spending more than three years, the lives of nearly 3,000 American soldiers, and well over $300 billion in Iraq, the coalition of neoconservatives and liberal interventionists who brought America into the quagmire now tell us that the problem was not with having the wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong reasons, but rather with poor implementation for which they unsurprisingly deny responsibility.

And just as the Crusaders a millennium ago blamed their defeats in the Middle East on a lack of faith, we are told today that it is the realists-those heretics with an insufficient faith in the ability of American values and power to rapidly transform the world-who are poised to sabotage the entire project for spreading freedom throughout the region; that the realists and their false gods of stability and national interest will seduce Americans away from their true calling of spreading liberty throughout the world, even at the barrel of a gun.

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