While the top news story of the past week was undoubtedly the feud between Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump, I’d like to address another issue which appears to rank a little lower in terms of national interest: the President’s New Iraq Plan. Yes, I know, this is now old news and most people have already gone on the record either for or against it, and it no longer even appears in the headlines. But, I needed time to think. Unfortunately, some of that has come between the hours of 2:30 and 4:00 a.m. when I lie awake concerned about the state of the world and the things I forgot to do the day before. I came close to writing this last night during that time period, but that would have meant getting up and waking either my wife or my cat. I chose to let sleeping – and not so sleeping – people and cats lie.
So, here’s my assessment, after hours of fitful consideration: I don’t have a clue what Bush is up to; his decisions concerning Iraq are completely befuddling to me, without any apparent sense of logic or rationality. I have given him the benefit after benefit of doubt, and have simply run out. He is either an astounding genius, thinking on a level that normal humans can’t grasp, or he is Don Quixote, willing to risk an entire nation to carry on his war with the proverbial windmill. I like Don Quixote, but I’m not about to go off on a quest with him.
I can hear my liberal friends and readers cheering in the distance. I have not, however, except perhaps on some minor points, changed my views. I admittedly hold some some beliefs tenuously in tension against others, like a physicist’s belief that light is a wave (oh, wait… it’s a particle). Here, for the record, are some of the things I believe:
- I am, at heart, a pacifist. By this I mean that I am called to make peace, not war. As the Apostle Paul said, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). That being said and human nature being what it is, I believe I would die and even kill to protect the lives of my family (in defense, not as an affirmative action. I just had to make that clear…). I think about this when I am awake late at night and hear noises outside my window. (Whether I would kill or die to protect you remains to be seen.)
- I think that Bush is, at heart, a good, well-meaning person. From what I know of him, I like him. His economic policies were “right on the money,” so to speak, resulting in tax breaks for people like me, and record-breaking stock market numbers, without any over-inflated dot-coms to drive the numbers up. He was a great president during the immediate post-9-11 period.
I would like him to succeed, for his own sake as well as for the sake of the country. I do not think, as does my son, Keith Olbermann, and Green Day, that he is an idiot. He has 3 major failures, that I see: For one, he failed to stop the obscene pork-barrel spending by congress (in fact, failed to veto anything). Second, he enlarged the Federal Government in the name of security but left our borders unguarded. And last but not least, I do think that he’s had several years of very bad military advice on Iraq, and that his advice has gotten worse.
- I agree with the late President Ford (as I’ve blogged already) that the arguments given for invading Iraq were not adequate, or at least not adequately presented. As others have pointed out, the justifications have shifted over time, and it certainly calls into question the true motivation. At this point, I don’t think anyone really knows why we’re there, except to try to bring a scintilla of order to the chaos that is Iraq.
- I have always questioned whether invading Iraq when we did was the right thing to do. Saddam was a bad dude, no question about it. But, he perhaps wasn’t the most dangerous man out there, and there were other available means of dealing with him. As I have said, I believe that there are things worth fighting for, but I’ve never been totally convinced that this is it (again, the “it” has changed over time, suggesting that the “it” we know may not be “it” at all).
Now, there are some very good reasons (in my humble opinion) why I think Bush’s plan to send 21,000 more troops to Iraq is like going “all in” after the turn on a pair of twos. Certainly, as John McCain has said, it could work… But, I wouldn’t bet my money (or my life) on it.
But, seeing as how this post is lengthy enough, I’ll give you these reasons tomorrow…
Ah yes, internal logic. Political Jabberwocky. The hobgoblin of little minds.
But, perhaps “winning” is, indeed, negotiable. We live in post-modern times, remember.
Bush’s clear conviction is that we cannot afford to lose in Iraq. Once the administration had opted for military confrontation, winning became a non-negotiable. Within the constraints of this perspective, it would seem that the US has no other choice.
The question is whether the initial action was flawed to begin with. And, as even a simple student of logic knows, an argument based upon a fallacy may be internally consistent, but cannot be meaningful. Alas, such appears the case in the current, admittedly very difficult situation in Iraq.
I can cop no morally superior tone about it; however, like you, I find it hard to see in the murky waters of Middle East policy.