Thursday, August 21, 2008
A New Direction(s)
I haven't posted on this blog in ages. Why? 'Cause I don't really know what I want to be about. Well, I've decided. It's gonna go in whatever direction I want it to go at the moment. If I want to write about books, I'll write about books. If I want to write about the ghastly Mariner's season-then by god expect to see pictures of Jose Vidro and Richie Sexson. If I want to talk politics-expect to see some Obama and McCain bashing.
While we're on the latter topic-today's column is about Iraq, judgment, and The Surge. I've spent the last few days listening to John McCain once again drag out the Obama didn't and doesn't back the surge argument. While I won't go so far as to say that he's questioning Obama's patriotism, but I think this is a bogus argument that Obama needs to focus on forcefully
1. I think it is foolish to allow McCain to make his argument that Obama used poor judgment on the surge, when McCain used poorer sense to follow the president and plunge the country into this war in the first place. The cost in lives and dollars has been too high for war that was not in our national interest. It is plunging our country further into debt, as the good senator has chosen to go along with the White House in not paying for this conflict, or even minimizing its costs.
2. McCain has fixed on Iraq as a surrogate conflict for his generation's own failings in Vietnam. He is scared to death that the United States stands to lose another war-not because the armed services have failed, but because another generation of leaders have chosen not to stick it out through all the bloodshed and cash thrown at a war with that has been fought at times with questionable behavior. What were our goals in Iraq? A friendly government, or one that can be controlled by the US? What will security for that country look like? What will the the remaining military footprint look like, and how will we pay for it? I believe this war, regardless of the military outcome is already lost, because it is has left us so much weaker economically, and less able to deal with needs at home, and a new confrontation from Russia.
3. The situation in Afghanistan remains dicey. We have plunged far too many of our manpower and material resources into Iraq instead of giving the Taliban the knockout punch and polishing off Al Qaida in Afghanistan. Now we must depend on the good offices of Pakistan (like that will happen) and increased support from NATO in order to continue progressing on this front. Right now we only seem to be holding our own.
4. The surge seems to have worked. So well, in fact, that today the Iraqi government announced agreement on a timetable for U.S. withdrawal. This measure was called for by Obama, al-Maliki, GW, everyone it seems except McCain. Regardless of the success, that doesn't make the war any more justified, or its results any more excusable. Photo is courtesy of Andrew Sullivan's (a good conservative) Atlantic Monthly blog