I am presently reading Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. It's a book about cognitive dissonance -- how we justify past mistakes and wrongs in order to feel confidence in our own judgment.
In the comments, Ed mentioned that he picked up this book, but decided not to read it because of its political content. I can understand that. Tavris and Aronson take their time to kick at America and Israel, and clearly feel that the Iraq War was unjustified. And certainly opponents of the war have had their own share of dissonance, such as Harry Reid's proclamation of the surge as a failure.
Lately, in the political blogosphere, there has been a discussion of how pro-war bloggers offered lower casualty estimates than have actually taken place. Here's a good roundup of various attempts to retroactively justify those estimates.
I think that those of us who verbally supported the Iraq War should be honest about how things have turned out. The general consensus of right-leaning bloggers that I read at the time (such as the previously linked Glenn Reynolds), was that the war would be much briefer than less costly in blood and money than it has been. There really wasn't a sense that the occupation would be a serious problem; that it would be something more akin to the occupation of Germany at the end of World War II than a protracted guerilla war. And in the several years that followed, I read many commentators, such as Victor Davis Hanson, promise that victory was right around the corner. Over and over again.
I think that the U.S. and its allies have now turned that corner in Iraq, but that we should also resist the cognitive dissonance which advises us to retroactively claim that this is what we always predicted. It wasn't.
I thought that the Iraq War would be much briefer and less costly. And I was wrong.