Alex Massie

Iraq and conservatism?

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At Tapped Mori Dinaeur says no-one should be surprised by John McCain's lack of interest in policy detail. Well fine. The there's this, however:

After Iraq and Katrina, I don't think the public needs to be convinced of the link between conservatism [and] the failure of government.

Half of this, at least, is entirely wrong. The Iraq War has little or nothing to do with conservative, or governmental failure, rather it was the result, in more than just part, of an overweening, arrogant belief in the power of government to achieve anything it set its mind to. Granted, the Bush administration didn't foresee the problems that would arise and are properly culpable for that (me too, for that matter), but there's little that's recognisably conservative about the war, at least in terms of any conservatism of restraint, modesty and prudence.

As for Katrina: well maybe (and certainly I think Dinauer is right to suppose that the public blames the federal government for the debacle) but there is, of course, or at least there used to be, the question as to whether disaster relief is a matter the federal government should be taking the lead role in. That, of course, is an exceedingly old-fashioned view.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articleSocietyconservative partyiraq