The china shop rule
Notice often seen in shops selling delicate porcelain: “If you break it, you own it”. Does this apply to Iraq? Yes and no. ‘Yes’ because the success of the invasion led to a vacuum which was predictable, could have been planned-for — and wasn’t. ‘No’ in the sense that Iraq was broken long ago, by Saddam and his regime. What makes the current unfolding disaster so depressing is that no matter what one thought about the original decision to go to war, the US and Britain cannot quit now. Retrospective moral outrage is no longer a credible position. And that’s very uncomfortable for everyone.