Iraq: a question of motives
Jon Carroll opposes the war in Iraq, as do a lot of other people of good will---people of the left, center, and right. But, like a lot of those same people, he also questions the Bush Administration's motives:
The war in Iraq is being run by people who see war as an abstract idea, a token on a board, moves in a chess game. They are indifferent to the suffering on both sides, they believe that any harm is permissible in pursuit of an ideological goal. The ends justify the means, as Lenin was fond of saying (SF Chronicle, July 21, 2005).
Carroll doesn't offer any evidence for this claim (nor does he offer us a specific cite in Lenin's case, though the charge seems likelier in that instance than in Bush's.) And what's the ideology being advanced by the Bush Administration? Christianity? Capitalism? If Carroll is right about the people making foreign policy for the US, they are monsters, devoid of basic human emotion, not to mention ethics. I read a lot of material, including some by and about those high in the Bush Administration, and I think Carroll is wrong about these folks (see, for example, Mark Bowden's story on Paul Wolfowitz in the July/August Atlantic Monthly).
Why can't Carroll just say that he vehemently opposes the war in Iraq and strongly disagrees with the Bush Administration while telling us exactly why? It's a little shocking to see a meticulously fair-minded liberal like Carroll essentially dehumanizing those he disagrees with in a sweeping ad hominem argument, which is regarded as a logical fallacy in beginning philosophy.
My impression about the motives of people on the big issues of the day, nationally and internationally, is that they are almost always sincere. People are sincerely anti-abortion and pro-choice, sincerely for the war in Iraq and sincerely opposed to it, etc. Unless you have incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, it's bad political hygiene to question an opponent's motives.