Buckley Bails on Iraq, Apparently for Good

“One can’t doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed.”

That’s from William F. Buckley Jr.’s Friday piece on National Review online. Buckley has made dissenting noises about Iraq before, but this time the judgment is unambiguous. Whatever one thinks of Buckley blaming the Iraqis (“Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable”) and insisting that we mustn’t abandon the larger democratic crusade (“To do that would be to register a kind of philosophical despair”), can any honest observer deny the disaster any longer by invoking purple fingers?