Conor Friedersdorf has a good round-up of various principled Burkean arguments in favor of the Iraq war.
FABULOUSLY ANTI-WAR: No, I don’t mean Madonna. I mean a group called Glamericans. These are drag queens, performance artists, and sundry others who form “a non-partisan group of funky Americans committed to non-violence and its promotion through glamorous, media-savvy, cultural events. We believe in America’s potential to be a peaceful and powerful force in the world. We believe that war is bad for our country, bad for our environment and bad for our travel plans.” Dammit. Let Saddam test nerve gas on political prisoners strapped down in hospital beds. Let him gas the Kurds. Let him protect terrorist groups.
“I want to rub it in the anti-war crowd’s face so badly. I want to hear the protesters explain why it’s a bad thing we released more than 100 children from an Iraqi gulag for underage political prisoners.”
Some idiot named Brendan O’Neill who opposed the war but hated the protesters more than the war:
Most of the new antiwar groups express an entirely personal opposition to war, one based more on moral revulsion than effective political opposition. Protesters voice a personal distaste for violent conflict, rather than organizing a collective stand against it. And when opposing war is about making pompous moral statements about me, myself, and I, you can count me out.
He left out my favorite, from Megan McArdle:
I can’t be mad at these little dweebs. I’m too busy laughing. And I think some in New York are going to laugh even harder when they try to unleash some civil disobedience, Lenin style, and some New Yorker who understands the horrors of war all too well picks up a two-by-four and teaches them how very effective violence can be when it’s applied in a firm, pre-emptive manner.
Atrios puts it well:
I know all the ‘liberal hawks’ perceive themselves as having engaged in some sort of high minded intellectual exercise back in the day, but what they were really doing most of the time was punching hippies.
The respectable position, then, was to support the war, never mind the details like how many soldiers to send in and how to deal with sectarian strife. Freedom isn’t free! Just as now the respectable position is austerity, never mind the real world affect it might have on the economy. End the debt!
I do wish that just once, someone who supported the war but who isn’t a total asshole would admit that they backed it because that’s just what serious people did at the time, that they had no idea, in practice, how the war might work out, that they’d never thought about it all.