If there is a sectarian war in Iraq today, or perhaps several sectarian wars, we have to understand that this was latent in the country, and in the state, and in the society all along. It was not the only possible outcome, because it had to be willed and organized, but it was certainly high on the list of probabilities. (The Saddam Hussein regime, which thrived on the worst form of “divide and rule,” certainly represented a standing invitation to run this risk.)

In other words, those who now deplore and decry the “civil war” (or the “civil wars”) must, in order to be serious, admit that they would have deplored such an outcome just as much if it had not happened on America’s watch or had (like Rwanda) been something that we could have pretended to watch as disinterested or—even worse—uninterested spectators.

That’s the meat of it, though I’d advise you to go and read the rest of it. It’s getting to the point where he is the only thing worth reading at Slate, anymore.

The upshot of the article though, to my mind, is that Saddam Hussein was never really in control of the place, in the first place.  Which, given what we know of BinLaden and of Syria and of Iran , explains completely why control of Iraq or more correctly, control in Iraq was so important to the coalition, and to the cause of peace.

Of course, the usual suspects will deny the import of the point Hitchens makes as well as mine.

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