Last week, David Frum, of “Unpatriotic Conservatives” and “axis of evil” fame, wrote the following as part of a foreign policy Q&A:
Iraq: Knowing everything you know now, if you had been in Congress in 2002, would you have voted to authorize force against Saddam Hussein, yes or no?
No. For an Iraqi, there was no price too high to pay to rid the country of Saddam Hussein. For Americans, the issue was not Saddam’s badness, but his nuclear weapons program. Knowing that the nuclear program was not a real threat, the invasion was too large a commitment. The world is a better place without Saddam, but as with everything, the question is one of costs and benefits. The costs to the U.S. were too high, the benefits to the U.S. too few.
Some praised Frum for his gutsy rethinking of a now-unpopular policy that he fiercely advocated when it mattered. Andrew Sullivan — of course — nominated Frum for the Yglesias Award (in Sullivan’s world, it’s high praise to compare someone to Matthew Yglesias but a grave insult to compare someone to Nicholas Von Hoffman).
But re-read this sentence: “For an Iraqi, there was no price too high to pay to rid the country of Saddam Hussein.” This may be the most appalling thing David Frum has ever written, and that’s saying something. If it doesn’t knock the wind out of you, then drink a cup of coffee, rummage around for your soul, and read it again. I wonder whether Frum paused for even a nanosecond before proclaiming — on behalf of the 30 million or so residents of Iraq – that “there was no price too high to pay to rid the country of Saddam Hussein.” We need not list the specific “prices” millions of Iraqis have paid in dead children, dead parents, destroyed homes, lost arms and legs, etc., to recognize this as the nonchalance of a sociopath.
The David Frums may update their packaging from time to time, but inside, they’re the same poison.