Tuesday, February 01, 2005

On second thought.....

Well, it was inevitable.

Sunday saw an election of sorts in Iraq which exceeded expectations, which is both positive and hopeful. Now we need to see what it really means in terms of its impact on the Iraqi future, and if that country's situation is now indeed progressing rather than regressing.

Then of course come the pundits. The pro-Bush folks are writing the "I-told-you-so" columns (as if a single event can buttress 2 years of a failed policy), and the perpetually self-doubting "liberals" are asking if they could have been wrong all along.....

This is a great example of how shallow, two-dimensional, and uninformed our thinking is regarding foreign policy is in this country. We don't fully understand the gravity and complexity of our actions around the world (thanks to our "instant" culture and USA Today-style media). I believe we probably put far more time, critical thinking, and deep & protracted discussion into who's going to win the Super Bowl than into what's going on in Iraq. To change one's opinion (either direction) based upon a single day's event is as superficial and simplistic a view as deciding to wear the blue shirt instead of the red one today, or deciding which was the best episode of Friends.

If the Iraqi election gives the anti-war folks pause, then they probably opposed it for the wrong reasons in the first place. To accept the war as justified one almost surely has to also accept the following:

-- That the estimated 100,000+ innocent Iraqi civilian deaths were justified
-- That the current situation for millions who's lives are still miserable in the country (basic services, housing, food, medical care, etc) is worth it
-- That the 1,400 and counting American GI deaths were worth it
-- That the 10,000 and counting American GIs who are permanently maimed is worth it
-- That we actually had the moral and legal right to unilaterally invade a sovereign nation that has never threatened us, who posed no threat, and impose our will on them
-- That our lifestyle and form of governance is the only correct way to live
-- That the subsequent dramatic boost in terrorism worldwide as a result of this action (and subsequent increase in danger) is worth it
-- That the elections really mean anything long term (I hope they do, but we don't know that yet)

The "end justifies the means" approach to this is reckless, particularly when the average American citizen feels absolutely no pain from this mis-adventure.

But Arianna puts it much more eloquently.....

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