Francisco Franco Is, In Fact, Still Dead

Oh, come the hell on Eugene Volokh. I expected the uproar over Harry Reid’s factual statement that the US lost the war in Iraq to come from the usual far-right, wingnut sources – the National Review, the Weekly Standard, Redstate, LGF, Malkin, etc. – but not from a usually sensible conservative such as yourself. Look – the US lost the war in Iraq by any reasonable set of measures. It didn’t fulfill our stated aims, which, if anyone still remembers, were to disarm Iraq of its WMDs and end its “support” for terrorism; whereas before the war Iraq had no WMDs and no ties to al-Qaeda, today not only is al-Qaeda active in Iraq but insurgents in Iraq now possess and use chemical weapons. And when one uses a gain/loss measure of victory instead, the picture isn’t any prettier. Gain: we deposed an unfriendly dictator. Losses: we got an unfixable failed state and associated civil war in his absence, squandered any and all international support for US global leadership, spent up to $2 trillion, etc., etc. So by the two standards by which victory in a war is usually judged, not only did the US lose, but it lost very, very badly. This shouldn’t be all that hard to surmise. In fact, it hadn’t occurred to me that serious people actually believed that the US hadn’t already lost. It’s bizarre.
This reminds me, though: in the nine major inter-state wars the US has involved itself in (1812, Mexican, Spanish, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq), it doesn’t have a particularly stellar record. It won five, to be sure (Mexican, Spanish, WWI, WWII, Gulf), but it lost two (Vietnam, Iraq) and tied two (Korea, 1812). So it’s not as if the US is particularly invincible, militarily speaking, though it’s often spoken of as being so.

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