I get what you’re saying, but there’s a difference between rebuilding Japan because you beat the hell out of them in a war, and rebuilding them just because you feel like you could make their country a better place. The first is a no-brainer, the second is a tough sell as far as explaining why it’s in the national interest of the US. Let’s take a step back for a second.Reasonable, well-reasoned and an olive-branch extended. Meet you in the middle.
Assume, for the sake of argument, that everybody knew in 2002 what we know today (no WMD’s, no collaborative relationship between Saddam and al-Qaeda). It’s hard to even talk about the idea of invading Iraq in this context, because it’s obvious that as a political matter it never would have happened. But beyond that, you can make the case that we should have done it anyway (freeing the Iraqi people, etc), but you’d have to explain why it’s significantly different from liberating Burma, or any of the other things we’d never consider doing even though they would have some good effects (like a free Burma).
Anyway, I think your argument basically boils down to “maybe we screwed up on WMD’s, but we still accomplished a good thing while being there.” Setting aside the point that I don’t think the good thing, standing alone, was worth the cost, it really burns me up that the administration didn’t at least do it right. You know the things I’m talking about, the failure to plan for the post-war phase, the failure to put enough troops in place to secure the country, the failure to control episodes like Abu Ghraib that ended any chance of proving to the Middle East that we were the good guys. I accept that you probably disagree with some or all of these criticisms but we’ve been over them a thousand times, I’m not looking to have the argument again now. I’d add to this the point that the administration never asked the public to sacrifice anything for the war, indeed they continued to push tax cuts, ensuring that our kids and grandkids will pick up the trillion-dollar cost of this adventure.
Other things burn me up about this blunder as well: the squandering of all the capital we had with the international community after 9/11, the diversion of resources from more important targets in the war on terror, and particularly the failure to get bin Laden. God, I know taking out bin Laden doesn’t end the threat of terrorism, but it still just kills me that this guy perpetrated a mass murder just down the street from me and the most powerful country in the world hasn’t been able to bring him to justice for it, over four years later. No man should be beyond our reach if we truly make it our priority, I just feel this as a matter of national pride, I hate that he’s out there laughing at us.
I hope that explains some of where I come from on this whole ordeal. Frankly, as far as the decision to go to war, I’d be willing to completely drop the issue of prewar intelligence if we could somehow declare a cease-fire between the “Bush lied” faction and the “liberals are pro-Saddam” faction. The thing is that I really didn’t enjoy watching the last election become a referendum on a war that we fought 30 years ago, and 30 years from today I don’t want to see our country still divided over the goddamn stupid Iraq war.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Voices We Need to Hear
If everyone on the blue team talked like this and the red team reciprocated (or vice versa), I'd like that: