Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Little Reminder

The very worst US foreign policy disaster of our lifetime is the Iraq invasion and occupation. John McCain and Hillary Clinton supported it. Barack Obama didn't.

Yet... now what? Of course it's complicated. We - we, Americans, that is - are all implicated in the Iraq War. It doesn't matter if you didn't vote for Bush and never supported the war. Our system is quasi-democratic, which at least means that we give our tacit consent to domestic regimes we dislike or haven't personally chosen. So, we can't simply take a cavalier attitude towards either withdrawal of American troops or some idiotic "100 years" statement. We're responsible for a solution that saves Iraqi and American lives. The surge is a smokescreen, a cowardly policy option intended to buy time for the current administration. The real policy will be made by the next president.

But... do you trust someone who fully supports the war and suggests more of the same, someone who maybe or maybe not supports it, or someone has always been against it to make the right choices about what will in any case be an exceedingly difficult foreign policy mess to sort out?

5 comments:

Wild Threads said...

Hi! It's Laurel from the Fall Moral Dimensions class. I love your blog.

A couple questions:
-Why is Iraq the worst foreign policy disaster when the death toll in Vietnam was so much higher? (Granted, that wasn't during my lifetime.) How about not doing anything about Darfur? What are the criteria?

-Given the polarization of viewpoints that there will be present in the general election, will it be possible to create a dialog on Iraq that goes beyond leaving immediately or staying forever? I think we need to be talking about how best to leave while preventing genocide, but candidates don't want to touch that.

-Are people purposely being divided by politics and the media into hawks and doves to entwine our identities with the issue and cement party loyalty?

Steve Gimbel said...

"Why is Iraq the worst foreign policy disaster when the death toll in Vietnam was so much higher?"

Man, I want students like this...[whining]I have a blog, too[/whining]

helmut said...

Hi Laurel!

Good questions. OK, I don't have a terribly coherent response on the disaster-rating methodology. Yes, in terms of deaths, Vietnam was worse. The Vietnam War was also, arguably, unnecessary. But whether one agrees or not, in the context of the Cold War, Vietnam really did seem to many to be a bastion worth defending. Personally, I can't vouch for that, but it does present a contrast with the Iraq War, which was unnecessary, a matter of political manipulation, and ultimately damaging in ways that may be more far-reaching than Vietnam.

jenhargis said...

"-Are people purposely being divided by politics and the media into hawks and doves to entwine our identities with the issue and cement party loyalty?"

My opinion (and I'm not a highly educated current events junky who speaks before congress and is your professor) is that the answer to this question is yes. Also this is nothing new. Society can deal with itself better if they categorize people and then treat everyone within that group the same. This, in my opinion, is why independent candidates throw the media and the government into an OCD tizzy.

MT said...

Man, I want students like this...[whining]I have a blog, too[/whining]

Obviously, students like these are made, not born. She's taken helmut's class. Nice try, Steve.