The quote in my title is actually from the deck of her article, so she probably didn’t write those words. But they capture the gist of her column on the Iraq War:
It muddied up the meaning of conservatism and bloodied up its reputation. No Burkean prudence or respect for reality was evident. Ronald Reagan hated the Soviet occupation of the Warsaw Pact countries—really, hated the oppression and violence. He said it, named it, and forced the Soviets to defend it. He did not, however, invade Eastern Europe to liberate it. He used military power sparingly. He didn’t think the right or lucky thing would necessarily happen. His big dream was a nuclear-free world, which he pursued daringly but peacefully.
Noonan notes, in parallel with TAC‘s cover story, that the war blew the GOP’s reputation as the party of sober foreign policy and economic stewardship. It also “stoked an atmosphere in which doubters and critics were dismissed as weak, unpatriotic, disloyal. … A conservative movement that had prided itself, in the 1970s and 1980s, on its intellectualism … seemed no longer capable of an honest argument.”