In the spirit of the season – let me join in this holiday love fest.
Originally Posted by Peter Daou
1. VIRTUALLY EVERYONE WHO SAW THE INTELLIGENCE BELIEVED SADDAM HAD WMD, THEREFORE BUSH IS BEING UNFAIRLY SINGLED OUT FOR CRITICISM
…the administration's apocalyptic words and drastic actions (preemptively invading a sovereign nation) were decidedly out of proportion to the level and immediacy of the threat. THAT is the issue.
Sounds like he is pining for the days of Jimmy Carter – where equivocation and vacillation reigned supreme. (And doesn’t that really underscore his support for Kerry.) Caveats and hand wringing aren’t very presidential – unless you’re a Democrat.
Really, what is the issue here?
2. AFTER 9/11, WE CAN'T WAIT FOR THE THREAT TO MATERIALIZE BEFORE TAKING ACTION
It's a vacuous argument whose logic implies we should invade a half-dozen African countries as well as North Korea, China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. … And if the pushback is that North Korea and others are being dealt with diplomatically, isn't that exactly the approach this argument purports to refute?
When North Korea or Africa is home to the vast majority of the world economy’s life blood then we might have to take military action. When terrorists from North Korea or Africa commit acts of terrorism on our soil then we might have to take action.
Failing to recognize the strategic importance of the Middle East is beyond ‘vacuous’. Failing to recognize the strategic importance of Iraq – which shares a border with Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia - is merely beyond the comprehension of half-witted internet spares like Mr. Daou.
Furthermore, the war's opponents never claimed they'd prefer to "wait" for threats to materialize. … Nobody wants to wait for threats to materialize; they just want to deal with them differently.
And that is…? Perhaps a stern multilateral talking to? A continuation of the sanctions and no-fly-zone into perpetuity? But the Dims do have a plan… read on.
3. DEMOCRATS "VOTED FOR" AND THUS "SUPPORTED" THE WAR
Many elected Democrats did NOT vote in favor of the resolution. A vote to give Bush authority WAS NOT a vote "for war." Bush also had the authority NOT to invade.
The lawyerly wordplay aside, why is this a significant point?
4. TALK OF WITHDRAWAL "SENDS THE WRONG MESSAGE" AND "EMBOLDENS THE ENEMY"
…If we are truly engaged in a clash of civilizations, an epic battle against "Islamofascism," then our enemies are far more interested in the destruction of those things that are quintessentially American and that give us the moral high ground (freedom of speech, adherence to international law, upholding ethical norms and standards, respect for human rights, etc.) than strategic redeployment in Iraq.
IF… I suppose we’ve made some progress – 4 years after the 9/11 attacks the neoliberals are at least considering the possibility that this MIGHT be a ‘clash of civilizations’. And he’s removed his multicultural blinders long enough to acknowledge that we have the moral high ground. Now answer this - if this is a clash of civilizations and we have the moral high ground then why would we leave Iraq to the Islamofacists?
5. A WITHDRAWAL FROM IRAQ WOULD HAVE CATASTROPHIC CONSEQUENCES
What if we can't fix what's broken in Iraq? Is there a point at which we acknowledge we can't fix it and stop trying? Is our attempt to 'fix' Iraq breaking it even further? Also, are there other things we've broken that we're obliged to fix before we try to fix Iraq? Is there a reason our limited resources should go to fixing Iraq and not saving poor, sick, and hungry children in America?
Since America’s emergence on the world stage there have always been detractors who wish to stilt American influence. Why should we fight the scourge of ______ (insert: fascism, communism, terrorism,… etc.) when we should use those resources to ________ (insert liberal do-goodism)? Have they ever been right? Has isolationism ever been a sound policy?
Isolationism to interventionism is a swinging pendulum – with containment somewhere in between. Which of these three policies is most advisable in the dawning age of nuclear terrorism?
6. WITHDRAWING FROM IRAQ IS TANTAMOUNT TO "CUTTING & RUNNING"
…the present course of action is untenable. It is the height of folly to continue on a tragic and deadly path just to save face. And enough has been done to "embolden the enemy" that leaving Iraq will have little effect in that regard.
Folly is to arbitrarily create a timetable for withdrawal that is independent of Iraq’s stability in the name of political expediency. And nothing could ‘embolden’ the enemy more than the confirmation of their belief that fat and lazy superpowers do not have the stomach for a protracted fight – ala the USSR in Afghanistan.
Why is the present course ‘untenable’? Because Cindy Sheehan said so?
7. WE'RE FIGHTING THEM 'THERE' SO WE DON'T HAVE TO FIGHT THEM HERE
a) Iraq wasn't "there" until AFTER the invasion. (In spite of the mental contortions of Bush apologists who insist there was a substantive Saddam-Qaeda connection.)
So he’s admitting that Iraq is ‘there’ now.
b) Our policy in Iraq is creating more of "them."
And he’s basing this on…convenient supposition? Isn’t it possible that the mindless killing of innocents in Iraq (and elsewhere) is turning favor away from the militants - that the demonstrations in Jordan are emblematic of an awakening conscious in the Islamic masses? Isn’t it possible that our continued struggle towards the democratization of Iraq will demonstrably reveal that this war isn’t about stealing oil or destroying Islam?
c) "There" is where "them" (Bin Laden and his cohorts) are. And it ain't Iraq.
But he just said that Iraq was ‘there’. Mr. Daou seems a little confused here. President Bush made it abundantly clear that ‘there’ is wherever the terrorists or their supporters are. Bin Laden is probably dead (Allah be praised); Al-Zarqawi and his cohorts ARE in Iraq.
A corollary to this argument is that Iraq is the "central front in the war on terror" and we can't defeat the terrorists if we don't fight them there. That's like walking into someone's house, breaking an expensive vase, and claiming you have to move in because your job is to clean up broken vases and as long as vases are being broken, you have to be there to clean up the mess. Arguments don't get more circular than this...
What?...This must have sounded better when the voices in his imagined it than it appears in print. If he’s making a living as a writer – somebody’s getting fucked.
But I understand his point – poorly worded as it is. And I think the CREATION of a war front – far removed from Suburbia USA - is a genius move.
8. DEMOCRATS DON'T HAVE A PLAN FOR IRAQ, THEY'RE JUST ATTACKING BUSH TO SCORE POLITICAL POINTS
Democrats deserve legitimate criticism for their approach to Iraq, but when the Republican Party controls all branches of government, attacking Dems for conflicting positions and a confused message shouldn't be a catch-all excuse for Republican mistakes and lies.
If Bush's policy is to "stay the course," the Democratic policy is to "change the course."
How is the action in Iraq a failure? It’s only becomes a failure when we ‘fail’ to complete the task. Even Mr. Daou admits that the Democrats have “conflicting positions and a confused message”. Their ‘plan’ is to simply ‘change the course’. Great plan… Very similar to Sir Robin’s plan for dealing with the Killer Rabbit.
9. HISTORY WILL VINDICATE BUSH
Perhaps Mr. Daou shouldn’t mention history – since he seems to have such a flimsy grasp of it. The demise of communism did not occur overnight. The Cold War was a decades long struggle of containment, brinksmanship and diplomacy – the unifying thread being our resolute certainty in an eventual triumph. One can only imagine how Mr. Daou and his neoliberal ilk would have condemned that fight, considering the enormous investment and loss of life that it required.
10. ISN'T IT A GOOD THING THAT SADDAM IS GONE?
Isn't it terrible that we've done nothing to stop the slaughter in Darfur?
Isn't it terrible that Iraq is still a killing field and now a terrorist breeding ground?
Isn't it terrible that a nuclear armed Kim Jong Il is still in power?
Isn't it terrible that the hundreds of billions of dollars spent in Iraq could have saved millions of starving children instead of killing tens of thousands of Americans and Iraqis?
I wrote this over two years ago:
When justification for the war is made on humanitarian grounds a singularly disingenuous argument is typically presented. It says: “Why Iraq - why not North Korea or Liberia?” If a neighborhood is on fire do you rationalize that because you can extinguish but one that you should do nothing? American military strength IS finite and must be used in a judicious manner.
The war in Iraq is readily justifiable because of the strategic importance of the Middle East and its oil supply, the centralized position of Iraq in relation to known state sponsors of terrorism, the introduction of democracy to the region, the creation of new permanent Iraqi bases of operation for the American military ( reducing or eliminating our need to operate from Saudi soil), the elimination of the former Iraqi regime and the requisite need for indefinite containment (via sanctions and military operations).
The substantial humanitarian benefit is just an added bonus.