Cally: Many, many people will die without Star One. Are you sure that what we're going to do is justified?
Blake: It has to be. If we stop now then all we have done is senseless killing and destruction without purpose, without reason. We have to win. It's the only way I can be sure I was right.
Of course, no matter what happens, at this point, the Bush Administration and neo-cons already have their defense. They are free to mutter to themselves in the dark, like Smeagol after the murder of Deagol "the surge was working! We were finally making headway! There was real political change. But then those cowardly Democrats put heart into the enemy....all that talk of defeat and withdrawal if they won...because the surge was working..gollum!..yes Precious....nasty Democrats tricks us it does...'When are we going to pull out'...gollum...Because the surge was working" and so on.
But let us assume that Bush and his supporters are right. That after the 2006 elections, Bush and those managing the war finally recognized that they needed to stop pretending nothing was wrong, stop using the war as another political patronage vehicle, and actually start listening to the military and civilian experts even if the advice they gave for success was unpleasant and not ideologically sound. And lo! It turned out that bringing in the number of troops the experts initially recommended, combined with bringing in competent people on the ground, getting organized, telling military contractors to stop being quite so obviously corrupt and greedy, and no longer penalizing people for bringing bad news and doing their jobs, actually succeeded in turning things around and rebuilding Iraq.
Would that really magically redeem the sins of this Administration? Would their sins, though red as scarlet, suddenly be white as snow? Would that final success alter the judgment of history and transform the invasion of Iraq back into a liberation?
Clearly the Bush people think so, as do its supporters. It is consistent with their governing style. All that matters at the end of the day is to either ultimately be proven right, or have someone else to blame.
But for myself, I cannot help but think of this scene from the Babylon 5 Episode Comes the Inquisitor
(Vir and G'Kar are in an elevator.)
Vir (bracing himself): I'm sorry....I tried .... I tried to tell them .... But they didn't listen. They never listen. I'm sorry.
(The elevator stops. G'Kar gets out. Abruptly he turns, draws his knife and cuts open his own palm. He holds out his clenched fist to Vir.)
G'Kar (intoning as each drop of blood falls): Dead...dead....dead....dead....dead...de
Vir: I can't.
G'Kar: Then I cannot forgive.
For myself, I find it morally repulsive beyond words to imagine that all the useless death, theft, corruption, torture, the endless pouring of blood and treasure into Iraq caused by this Administration's endless incompetence and the refusal to hold its friends accountable is somehow washed away and made of no account by waking up in 2006 after disastrous domestic elections and realizing that yeah, maybe results really do matter and we should at least make an effort to bring in the right people and resources and get the job done.
I supported the War going in. I believe that what happened afterwards was needless tragedy. It will not be unmade, nor any sins redeemed, no matter what the final outcome.