1. Saddam was a wicked man.
2. His coworkers at The New Republic were mean to him after the whole election stealing thing in Florida back in 2001.
3. He was publicly humiliated after some scummy "journalists" published stories about his sex life.
4. He was horrified by 9/11.
Sully went to Oxford so he writes this in a much more fancy and better sounding prose than me, but all the points are the same:
My horror at 9/11, combined with crippling fear, compounded by personal polarization was a fatal combination. This is not an excuse. It’s an attempt at an explanation. And my loathing of the left had been intensified earlier that year by a traumatizing exposure of my own sex life by gay leftists determined to destroy my reputation and career because of my mere existence as a gay conservative.Let me say that I am sympathetic to anyone who is willing to bare their soul publicly, especially a well known and polarizing public intellectual like Sullivan. Let me also say that I am sympathetic to anyone who supported the Iraq War, simply because a lot of people supported it. And I think he's a great writer with a great blog. Let me also say that his mea culpa is frankly, bizarre.
This is a explanation for supporting (in Sullivan's case I'd say flogging) a disastrous war in which thousands of Americans died, tens of thousands were wounded, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died and millions were made homeless by recounting how people were mean to him 10 years ago. It is in short an explanation of his support of the war in a universe in which there is no war with no consequences, there is only Andrew and his feelings.
The worst part to me is that he seems to have learned nothing from the whole experience. He hasn't said fighting land wars in Asia is a bad idea, or trying to dominate the Persian Gulf is unnecessary or that while the American military can do many things it can't turn a post-conflict country into a democratic utopia. He doesn't say anything about that at all, instead all we get is me: Me Me Me Me Me.
To be sure, I don't blame Sullivan for the Iraq War. It was going to happen no matter what he wrote about it and in that sense it really doesn't matter. But it does matter in the sense that so many of our "experts" on foreign affairs seem to have learned nothing from the war. Sullivan is just a convenient example of this.