A reader writes:

I agree with your assessment of the Iraq war and its aftermath.

We went to war because conservatives decided that “the ends justify the means” — the very same thing that liberals are typically accused of doing.

A very good article is on this page:

In my opinion, we have no one to blame but ourselves for the current mess in Iraq, which will only get worse.

Sheesh. We had good intelligence, before the war, that Iraq’s WMD had been destroyed in the mid-’90s. The reports came from the exact same people that we trusted on reports about torture and despotism in Iraq, yet we refused to believe them when they said there were no WMD in Iraq.

It was all an excuse to simply show off our power, and maybe to grab some oil and influence. Unfortunately, it cost a few hundred American boys’ lives.

Iraq will end up like Afghanistan, where we helped install a government that only controls the capital city, Kabul (and it needs thousands of U.S. troops to do that). The rest of the country is controlled by local bandits, warlords and tribal mullahs.

Oh, and democracy is wonderful there.

Did you know that one of the first laws passed by the so-called “national” parliament was a renaming of the country: “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan”?

This was immediately followed by the enactment of a complete prohibition on Christian evangelization.

Flash forward to two years from today.

I will make a prediction that the situation in Afghanistan will be the same, if not worse, and that Iraq will be identical, if not worse.

In fact, it already is starting to look worse. The mullahs seem to have much more influence in Iraq than they have in Afghanistan.

Actually, Iraq seems to be on the road to becoming the next Iran.

Yes, the people of Iraq didn’t rise up to defend Sadaam, but I hope everyone noticed that over ONE MILLION citizens of Iraq joined a march called by Shiite muslim leaders demanding immediate U.S. withdrawal.

What happens when these same leaders call for a guerrilla war against the American forces? What happens when we face a huge uprising by the Iraqi people? I have little doubt that it will eventually come.

What happens if, during George’s upcoming election campaign, U.S. troops start having to face something that looks like the Palestinian Infitada, only on a larger scale?

Are we prepared to be bogged down in Iraq, for years to come, fighting a religious war?

History will not judge this whole adventure very kindly.

It is one of the most stupid things we have ever done as a nation.

I get so frustrated with the misplaced gloating by conservative commentators about our “victory” in Iraq. There are some conservative blogs and other commentators that I used to enjoy, that now I cannot even bring myself to look at. They are so worshipful of “Pope George” (and his pals) that they refuse to admit obvious facts about the war and everything that has happened afterward.

Are they just being deliberately blind? Yes, we won a *military* victory against some weak and poorly trained foreign soldiers. However, does it look like this victory actually “won” us anything? No WMD. No CBW. No Sadaam. Nothing. On the other hand, we just planted the seeds for a new fundamentalist Islamic dictatorship hostile to the U.S.A.! Yay!!!

I am not any sort of liberal, but I refuse to be wilfully deaf, dumb and blind.

A very bad precedent has been set by this war. I am angry and annoyed that more conservatives have not spoken the truth, as you repeatedly have.

When history is written, years from now, this war will be the one major black mark on the Bush presidency.

I’m not sure how close this reader and I are really tracking. I’m not prepared to say the Iraq war aftermath is proving to be a failure. I asked if we have a game plan there cuz I want to know, not because I wanted to rhetorically suggest the war was a failure. However, there *are* troubling signs that things are not going according to plan, and conservatives who backed this war need to deal with that, not say things like “Victory has proven the war was just!” or “You antiwar types are sore losers!” or some of the other helpful suggestions I receive from people who seem to forget that I supported the war. I’m not nearly as ready as this writer is to call the war “stupid”. But I do think that prudence dictates an ongoing assessment of what the war has accomplished. So far, it has accomplished nothing in getting rid of the declared threat: WMDs because we aren’t finding them. In addition, it appears to be helping the Iraqis to get in touch with their Inner Foaming Bronze Age Fanatics. Since one of the criteria of Just War is “Will the outcome be better than if the war had not been fought?” a prudent person would appear to be justified in doing post-game analyses to discover if that question is being answered in the affirmative. The “War’s over! Let’s move on!” crowd seems to be singularly uninterested in that and some of them are remarkably eager to label anybody who asks the question an antiwar liberal loser sorehead. Actually, I’m just a Catholic who think Just War theory goes on mattering and that victory is not the sure gauge of the justice of a war. At this point, I have questions and doubts, not answers or certainty. What bothers me is that some of the pro-war types wish to shout down the questions. Not a healthy sign.