Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fighting Who Over Where?

I said most of this in response to one of Mike's posts about the ludicrous ways in which idiots across America have decided that Ned Lamont is running on the al-Qaeda ticket in this November's Senatorial election, but I think it bears repeating. To wit: the argument that we have to stay the course in Iraq because it's better to fight the terrorists there than here is just lame, lame, lame.

The "better there than here" argument only makes sense if you're talking about a specific, limited group of enemies whom you absolutely have to fight. For example, you know that a band of 10 murderous thugs wants to kill you and your family. In that case, yes, it's probably better to get your friends together and take the fight to the thugs' hideout. That way, your kids don't get killed in the fight, and your home doesn't get blown up.

But the that hypothetical is a lousy fit for the Iraq war. First, it's not the same "them" we're fighting there as here. We got attacked by al-Qaeda. We're in a struggle with them. Since Saddam Hussein didn't have any meaningful ties to al-Qaeda, in the invasion of Iraq we weren't fighting Them-1 (al-Qaeda). We were fighting Them-2 (the Iraqi army). Even now, with the invasion having given al-Qaeda and its allies a foothold in Iraq, we're still mostly fighting Iraqi Sunni extremists (Them-3). And, since we got the wrong Them, we also got the wrong There--instead of attacking the thugs' hideout, we attacked their next door neighbors' house.

Worse, the 10 thugs in the hypothetical situation above don't get to recruit. Al-Qaeda does. By invading Iraq and opening it up to al-Qaeda and by killing at least 16,000 Iraqi civilians (and creating an atmosphere in which at least 24,000 more civilians were killed), we've increased the number of our enemies. Insted of wiping out the 10 thugs, we've added another 10 to the list. And the chaos in Iraq has given the new recurits fabulous opportunities for on the job training.

To review: Lieberman supporters and Bush apologists want us to think that the Iraq war has been and is an instance of fighting them [1] over there [2] rather than [3] here. But in fact it's an instance of fighting the wrong guys [1] in the wrong place [2] while we're still also [3] under threat here.

The only real case to be made for remaining in Iraq is that because we got the Them and the There wrong, we turned Iraq into an originally unnecessary but now crucial front in the struggle against jihadi terrorism. That's a perfectly rational position. I'm not sure it's right, but it at least makes sense. But you're not going to hear any politician who supported the invasion saying so any time soon, which is a huge problem for our troops and our struggle against jihadi terrorism. Because even if staying in Iraq is a much better move than going there in the first place, it still means fighting the terrorists here and there and in the other theres we can't afford to let up on either. And that's a mess.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home