What is it about people using hindsight and claiming that because a prediction appears to have come true the prediction should've been what was adhered to before the eventual knowledge from hindsight was known?
This is the sort of intellectually banal argument that I was faced with in this morning's Times from Martin Samuel. Under the title of "Damned if you leave, damned if you don't" this wasn't actually a serious addition to the discussion about Iraq, this was a classic piece of doublethink from the anti-war crowd which deliberately ignores the reality of the pre-war decision making process and exploits hindsight knowledge to argue that they were right all along. According to Samuel
"The argument that there can be a no-mess, no-blame divorce from the chaos exists only to feed a desperate need for vindication on the part of those who took us to war, and those who supported the decision."I'm sorry Mr Samuel but it doesn't. Those who too the decision to go to war, and those who supported, are not searching for a vindication of their decision or support at all. The vindication of their decision is known very well in the history which surrounded it.
We were faced with two options. The first was to act against a man who had consistently played games with the UN, and who, as UNSCR 1441 unanimously agreed, had weapons mass of destruction. Or do nothing and allow this man to continue along the route of developing weapons which the international order of nations unanimously believed he had.
The decision to go to war in Iraq can, is and remains justified and vindicated when contextualised within the historical reality of which it took place.
It doesn't however just stop there for Samuel, he continues along this route of using hindsight and accuses those (like me in this very post I guess) who point out the fallaciousness of his argument as merely "peddling falsehoods". According to Samuel,
One of the main reasons to oppose the invasion of Iraq was its entirely predictable aftermath. It suits many commentators to peddle the falsehood that the events of the past three years could not have been foreseen when the basic problems were glaringly obviousThere is no falsehood in stating that it is impossible to know what will happen in the future. The only falsehood is the post facto claim that if predictions of historical events do indeed happen then those that predicted the events actually knew the future. Whilst I don't doubt the arguments about the Iraq War will go on and on the reality of the decision to go to war is rather plain if one is objectively honest. When placed within the historical context in which it was taken, the decision to act against Saddam far outweighed any deicsion not too.