"It was our Jacobin hubris"
"It’s frustrating to get e-mails from people on the Left who assume that because I’ve lost faith in the president and the war, I’ve become some sort of liberal, and from people on the Right who believe the same thing. It only shows how distorted the war has made American politics. I’m no more enamored of the Left’s social agenda than I ever was — and my conservatism is primarily social/cultural/religious. Besides, it was realizing how this war and my initial support of it violated conservative principles that I ought to have been defending at its outset that finally turned me.
Chiefly I should have been completely suspicious of the social engineering that the US government set out to do in Iraq. It didn’t work in the Great Society, and there was no reason to believe that it would work in Iraq. You don’t march in and turn a tribal society that follows a fierce religion into a nation of Western-style liberal democrats. A key conservative truth is that the material order rests on the spiritual order. Iraqi society did not have the spiritual or moral wherewithal to become the kind of nation we set out to make them. It was our Jacobin hubris, our prideful belief in our own power, that got us into this mess. There were conservatives warning against this in 2002, but most of us on the Right didn’t want to listen."