Those in favour of the Iraq war option back in 2003 -- including public intellectuals who provided the moral warrant for the war -- tended to dismiss doubters as wimps. Curiously, their courage fails them in a frank and honest assessment today of the consequences of their past choices. The Iraq war's legacy includes diminished western credibility in highlighting an Iran threat, narrower policy options in responding to the nuclear challenge, and an Iran that is simultaneously politically stronger than Iraq, richer because of rising oil prices, and more emboldened and motivated on national security.

The United Nations, built to preserve...

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