Mistakes and Learning

Okay, I've been ruminating again, so it's time to see if my thoughts make any sense to anyone else.

A wise man (and I can't seem to track down who, sorry) once said, "A mistake is evidence that someone tried to do something." In short, in this world, at least, those who attempt things will sometimes slip up.

Apply this to the Iraq war debates currently going on, and an interesting viewpoint emerges: Yes, we have made mistakes; but imagine if we had sat upon our hands and done nothing?

Saddam Hussein, as pointed out by many reports, probably would have been a good deal closer to developing nukes of his own, if he didn't have them by now. As of 2003 the Oil-for-Food program was riddled with holes and Saddam was doing everything he could to push his nuclear program forward.

Iraqis would have continued to die at Saddam's hands. Although many on the left like to point to the supposed body counts (none of which can be proven to be anywhere near scientifically accurate), yet they are strangely silent on the mass graves that Saddam himself filled up. There is absolutely no evidence that the situation would have been better had we left Saddam in power; he had shown the capability and willingness to use poison gas on his own people.

Also, it is worth considering that if we had gone into Afghanistan but not Iraq, many of the terrorists fleeing our troops in Afghanistan would quite possibly found a safe haven in Iraq. It's well known that Saddam financed terrorists himself (in fact, he himself was a terrorist of a kind), and he hated the United States of America with a passion (a passion apparently shared by at least some on the left, given their loud and very Saddam-like denunciations of America). It's quite plausible that terrorists could have found a new home in Saddam's Iraq.

Yes, we have made mistakes; we've learned from them. Edison was once asked how it felt to have failed over 100 times in his quest for the light bulb. His response was, "I have not failed once. I have discovered over 100 things that don't work." General Petraeus' plan has taken what we know won't work and turned it into something that is working.

A wise person does not give up when he fails; he learns from that and tries again. Edison did. Petraeus has. It appears the anti-war folks, however, would rather we tried, failed, and then gave up.

A pity, really. They stifle their own learning with that attitude.