Andrew Sullivan has a post up calling Bill Kristol a thug. I didn't read the article which led Sullivan to this accusation but based on what I have seen of Kristol's rhetoric, I will assume the charge is legitimate. The most unfortunate thing about Kristol being that his great influence in Washington makes the presence of someone capable of this sort of vitriol even more poisonous, as opposed to a Malkin who shrieks from the fringe.
But Sullivan goes on to rehash all the current objections to the continuation of the war. It was bungled, Bush has instituted a torture regime, it was a terrible lack of foresight that we didn't anticipate the Sunni-Shia civil war, new terrorist sanctuaries have been created, ect. He is right to claim that those conservatives who equate dissent with treason are engaging in the worse kind of thought stopping agitprop, but this as well as Sullivan's objections to the conduct of the war don't constitute any kind of critique of whether or not the war ws in the first place worth fighting, or whether or not it still remains so. The most common objection to the war is that it as been bungled. This is an indictment of Bush and his incompetence not the war itself. To object to the fact that the war was bungled implies that if it simply weren't managed so badly then it would not have been a mistake to fight it. But if it was at one time a worthy cause I don't see how mismanagement of it makes it now not worth the effort. I fail to see how the fact that a mess was created means that the mess is not worth fixing.
Assuming we are acting as mediators between Sunni-Shia civil war, we are accomplishing this:
1. We are forestalling what will be one of the most terrible genocides in recent memory until a regional government can strengthen itself enough to control these murderous factions. If you don't believe this then only small amount of research into the way they treat each other will suffice to convince you.
2. We are denying force which represent only the most abject ideological darkness control over a region second only to Israel in strategic importance. Consider the motivation for the first Gulf War.
3. We are fighting and defeating jihadists in the arena that has become their cause celebre. The truth of this last point was borne out by the death of Abu Musab-al Zarqawi, the founder of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
These are goals worth attaining and those who object to this war know it. They don't criticize the nobility of the cause but claim that it was not prosecuted to their liking. They never bother to explain how Bush's incompetence in waging war, now means that the war is not worth waging. They don't offer any constructive solution to the Iraq problem but only criticism (valid though it is) of the way it has been conducted. The morality of abandoning the country to the most retrograde of ideologies- which, by the way, we have already done to the Kurds who have until now done nothing but prosper from our presence- and the consequences, are rarely discussed.