Wednesday, March 16, 2005

No War in Iraq?!?

In the spirit of not just picking on the more conservative, New Democrats... Just got off the subway at Union Square, where an enthusiastic hippie woman yelled "Say No to the War In Iraq!" right in my face and tried to hand me a flyer for some gathering of some sort.

Uh... Okay.

Never mind that the "war in Iraq" argument ended, oh, when we invaded Iraq in 2003. Maybe she wants the troops out now? Well, that would be bad. Reasonable people on all sides know that we have to clean up the mess we made.

But, I doubt I need to convince you all of that. It's not that her ideas are wrong it's that they're making us on the left look like idiots. See, this is why people dismiss the crowd or the Michael Moore crowd, and though I'm pretty sure that both Moore and Moveon realize we have to stay in Iraq until it's stable, I have a feeling that people like this flyer-waving woman are creating the impression in mainstream America that the progressive left is in as much of a fantasy world as the neocon right.

Let's pick our battles, people. The bankruptcy bill would have been a good one. Social Security reform is a good one. Keeping us out of yet another war with the likes of Syria or Iran would be a worthy goal. As for Iraq, we should be advocating the best result for a bad situation. Those of us who were against the war should always remind people that our troops were sent without our consent, but since the deed's been done, we should be holding our government to its promise by making sure that a stable democracy is not only created there, but that we will respect its independence.


At 4:45 PM , Blogger Ideasculptor said...

What if Iraq never stabilizes? I'm not, necessarily, in support of just arbitrarily yanking our troops out, but I'm not convinced that there will, by definition, come a time when Iraq is stable enough for us to leave, either, and I certainly don't want to be there indefinitely.

And just what is the target level of stability? We didn't invade Iraq in order to bring democracy, or even electricity, to Iraqis. We invaded to remove the supposed threat posed by Saddum Hussein. If we must clean up our own messes, does that mean we can leave as soon as a secular or religious strongman sets himself up as despot and takes over the reins of 'government?' How do we define the point at which it is safe to leave. If we can't leave now, I'd at least like to know what, exactly, we are waiting for. And is our presence there really helping anything? What, exactly, are the estimates of what would happen if we just pulled out tomorrow? The assumption always seems to be that mayhem would ensue, but I wonder if it would really be any worse than it is already, sometimes. Sure, we might not wind up with the puppet regime 'we' would have preferred, but that was never, supposedly, our reason for going in in the first place.

And I'm not asking these questions rhetorically. Maybe I'm not reading the right material, but I've not seen any kind of academic analysis of what would result from such a withdrawal. Everyone talks about fixing what we broke, but what if the repair only inflicts more damage?

OK, so I'm arguing as the devil's advocate here, but still, I'm not inclined to dismiss the argument out of hand. And why doesn't the left get more vocal about finding some kind of compromise. The obvious one would be to replace our troops with UN forces. I know the administration isn't interested, but should the left be letting them just remove the option from the table without even mentioning it? If US forces are increasingly seen as an occupier by Iraqis, could that sentiment be alleviated through the use of the UN? If so, then it seems to me that we have the responsibility, as the folks who are paying for this mess, never mind the ones who allowed it to happen in the first place, to argue in support of such a plan.



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