Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Perverse Discussion

Back when we were debating rather than fighting the Iraq war, Colin Powell invoked the often-mocked "Party Barn" analogy to warn us that we'll be responsible for the war's outcome and might not be able to just pull our troops out quickly. Now, The New Republic and DLC Blogger The Bull Moose have decided to criticize people who want to bring our troops home as being inconsiderate of Iraqi interests and unwilling to face the moral implications of a withdrawal.

Of course, both these guys supported the war in the first place, so they're more than willing to argue now that we have to stay the course no matter what people might be feeling in 2006. The Bull Moose even argues that we should permanently increase the size of our military and that we should increase our military presence in Iraq.

While I agree that we certainly owe a moral debt to the Iraqi people, I'm struck that neither of these commentators mention that our government might also owe a debt to its own people.

They don't mention deaths and injuries suffered by our troops, who were used improperly to wage a war of choice. They don't mention the negative impact of all of this war spending on the U.S. economy, or the negative impact of the war on oil prices (which have hurt US consumers) or the negative impact of the war on our own security (because we've been forced to focus on Iraq while other more immediate threats have gone unchecked).

They say that whether or not you wanted this war in the first place you should be willing to live with all of its negative consequences now, and that you should even be willing to have our government commit more to the war.

That's true perversity.

You can't discuss the U.S. government's obligation to Iraq without also discussing the U.S. government's obligation to U.S. citizens.


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