Thursday, April 10, 2008

On Consistent Positions: Invading Iraq and Withdrawing

Regarding going to war in Iraq, you could have been for or against the war in the first place; and you could be for or against withdrawing. Taken together, that gives us four possible combinations.

The combination is really more informative than the individual positions. I was deadset against the Iraq War from the start, like millions of other Americans, including lots of Reagan Republicans scared to death of the religious right and neocons. We said from the start things that everyone now knows - that Saddam did not have WMDs; that he had no connection to terrorism; and that an invasion would be an incredibly long and costly mistake, both in terms of our economy as well as the cost in international standing. I thought at least we would get cheap oil out of the deal. And it turns out I was still too optimistic.

But now that we're there, we're there. Granted, you don't have to be very brave to criticize the Iraq War today, and more Republicans than just Ron Paul think the Iraq War was a mistake, maybe even one of the biggest blunders in history according to Chuck Hagel on Fox News. And if we withdraw now, we leave another failed state behind, another Afghanistan or Somalia with no infrastructure and a lawless territory to train more terrorists - to say nothing of the suffering of the people whose country we smashed. At home, the Democratic Party has seized on the issue of rapid withdrawal as more of a GOP vulnerability than a real policy goal, a decision based on domestic politics and not on consideration of the medium- and long-term impact of such a decision. Long story short, I was totally against the war, and now I'm totally against withdrawal.

There are people who were against the war and now along with the Democrats want us out yesterday. While this position may at least seem consistent on its face, I try to explain to anybody who's pro-withdrawal that in the long run this policy absolutely guarantees more fighting. McCain's plan of an eventual phased withdrawal of boots on the ground with an over-the-horizon presence to protect Iraq's nascent democratic institutions is the most sensible one we've heard so far. Believe it or not the neocons who got us into the Iraq mess are trying to get McCain's ear. If we want him to win this election he needs to stay as far away from those losers as possible.

There are also people who were for the Iraq War, despite all the evidence against WMDs and the predictions of a long insurgency; but now at least recognize that we've made our bed and have to lie in it, and we're there for the long haul.

It's the people who were for the war, and now want us out, that made me write this entry.

These people are, to put it bluntly, the worst assholes possible.

The world isn't like your game console - there's no re-set button. Did these moronic cowards support the war without realizing that people die in wars? Was it just another game on television to them? Did they think the religious extremists that infest the Middle East wouldn't jump on the opportunity to set up shop fighting the U.S. in what was before a non-religious state off-limits to them?

You can have your reasons for being for or against Iraq (now moot), and you can have reasons for being for or against withdrawal. But it's the combination of for-the-war and for-withdrawal that's beneath contempt. Iraq is the Jimmy Carter of wars: somehow in 2008 it seems that no one was for it. If you have the gall to admit you were for the war and now you're for withdrawal, there can't be any explanation but that you're an ignorant dipshit.

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