Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy has a Pro War challenge to bloggers:
First, assuming that you were in favor of the invasion of Iraq at the time of the invasion, do you believe today that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea? Why/why not?
Second, what reaction do you have to the not-very-upbeat news coming of Iraq these days, such as the stories I link to above?
Third, what specific criteria do you recommend that we should use over the coming months and years to measure whether the Iraq invasion has been a success?
Here's a shot:
1. I was strongly in favor and remain that way. I'm a bit of a maniac (hence the name of my blog) and a technology nut at heart. Therefore, I always enjoy seeing our weapons (and tax dollars) at work whether it's against Saddam or some other thug. Nevertheless, that's not the only reason for this war; I also support it because Saddam had to be dealt with. It was either now or later. If it were later (more likely too late) then the actual ground war would have been more difficult rather than the 3 week rout. Or we might have been hit with a terrorist act (Saddam did have connections) on our soil. In that case, the blame directed at Bush would have been brutal. And I don't buy that b.s. from the left that Saddam was a distraction from the war against terrorism or al-Qaeda. Our military is perfectly capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time.
2. With respect to downer news, I am usually suspicious. Occasionally a story has some truth to it, but most of the stories (like disgruntled soldiers, poor Iraqis, etc.) are anecdotal, spotty, and merely reflect the reporter's bias. If people need real news then read Chrenkoff. He has good reports from both Iraq and Afghanistan on lots of stuff you won't see on Dan Blather.
3. First, I suspect this is going to take years. The problem is the MTV crowd and 24-hour news cycle has bred a quick-fix mentality in this country. The problem is you cannot inject democracy and respect for human life into a country that existed under the boot of despotism for the past 30 years. Second, as far as specific benchmarks, not only would I look at the January 2005 elections as an accomplish, but also subsequent elections or re-elections sometime in the future. That will be a sign of stability. A further sign would be actual travel to Iraq. Maybe a daily non-stop flight from London or Tokyo (I don't know if NY is close enough) would be a boost and a sign of actual safety on the ground. Also, more whining from the left will be a sign of success.