The Thanklessness of Being Right

I know I’m late to the game, but there’s been a lot of navel gazing of the past week about what people wrote back on the eve of the Iraq War, and typically “what they got wrong.” Because, quite frankly, a lot of the blogosphere, and the media elites were painfully wrong about a lot of things back then. The sad thing is that many of them (including many of my good friends) continue to try and grasp at straws and bend facts to try and prove that they were right after all.

I enjoyed reading the Reason magazine’s editorial board’s thoughts on the matter (with many of them being able to honestly talk about “what they got right”). I’ll admit that I was pretty shocked to find out how many of my favorite writers/editors from there are probably younger than me. What finally convinced me that it was worth spilling some electrons on the topic though, was Jim Henley’s masterful piece on the topic.

It’s sad to see that for some reason those of us who were right all along are the ones still marginalized and ignored while those whose records are unsullied by ever getting a thing right about Iraq are the “serious foreign policy experts.” It’s all for the better though–the praises of the world and the honors of men were never really worth very much anyway.

As an aside, Jim’s piece in particular made me go dredge up (using the Way Back Machine) some of my protoblogging on the topic back at the time:

Why I’m an Anti-Interventionist
A Quick Thought on Iraq, WMDs, and Deterrence
A Different Kind of 4th of July

I have to admit that my writing at the time wasn’t really that great. I overused new sarcastic phrases (like “splendid little war”), I’ve never been particularly convincing, and my anger and frustration were a little more visible than I would’ve preferred. But at least I did what little I could at the time to stand up and be counted.

I know that a lot of the good and loyal readers of this blog will disagree with me vehemently on this topic, but I’m still glad I took this stance when I did. I just wish that being right didn’t mean that so many good an innocent people have been and will be unnecessarily hurt.

The following two tabs change content below.
Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
This entry was posted in Iraq, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Thanklessness of Being Right

  1. Anonymous says:

    fortunately, for us, you know more about war than space programs…

    anon @ jsc

  2. Jon Goff says:

    Anonymous…I’m not sure how to take that. 🙂

    I sure wouldn’t consider myself more knowledgeable about war than about space.

    ~Jon

  3. Michael Mealling says:

    You are correct about the situation after the initial military success but I still disagree with your conclusion that this makes the initial entry “not worth it”. IMHO, it would still be justified if we are still fighting in Iraq 20 years from now.

  4. Habitat Hermit says:

    Yeah that was a very enigmatic first post, especially to someone who thinks you know far more about space than war.

    I read that “masterful piece” and I’m hoping you’re joking but I know we disagree so I guess you’re not (it’s truly hard to understand why you think it’s masterful though, no matter what opinion on the war).

    I don’t dare read the rest of the links now in case by brain runs out of my ears ^_^ perhaps later.

    Anyway take care and hope you’ve had/is still having a happy Easter.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I read the Henley piece and thought it was of low quality with lots of cliches about the war and with WAY too many words for what he actually said. Does he really have the high IQ he claims to have? Maybe it’s a failure of the education system. –Tim

  6. Jon Goff says:

    Tim,
    He was being sarcastic. His point was that you didn’t really have to be that smart to realize that the standard case for war was based on a lot of naive thinking. His other point was that those who actually got it essentially right from the start are still ignored and ridiculed, while those who are continually and painfully wrong seem to have avoided any damage to their reputation. That five years from the start of the debacle, people still give more credence to the fools who got us into this mess than those who accurately saw it for the mess it was going to become.

    Sure, he took a long (and I thought rather funny) time saying those things, but nowhere near as long as all the crap that’s come out over the past week or two from people who were, are, and continue to be wrong about just about everything.

    ~Jon

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sure he was being sarcastic, in a ham fisted sort of way, but he was also claiming to be smart for real. Too bad he showed dumb, and verbosely so. Far be it from me to have truck with “people who were, are, and continue to be wrong about just about everything.” So goodbye to Mr. Henley. –Tim

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *