Our friendly pro-war interlocutors work themselves into a froth of moral outrage about the supposed inconsistency of “leftists’” opposition to the US frolic in Iraq, when, according to them, leftists should be emulating their own high moral disapproval at the beastliness of islamofascism and assorted “outposts of tyranny”. Well, here’s a newsflash: a high proportion of those “outposts of tyranny”, such as in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, throughout Central and Latin America, and the pocket despotisms of post-Soviet Central Asia were established and/or sponsored by various US administrations. It was the Left who protested these injustices while the apologists for US geopolitical ambition told us to be “realistic”.
But there is a reason for the post-Iraq discovery of moral absolutism by US apologists. And that reason: the Iraq fiasco is simply not realistic.
This debate is beginning to sound like a broken record. There are all sorts of moral reasons for intervention in Iraq. But if the practicalities preclude objectively varifiable declaration of “mission accomplished”, then there was no sufficient reason for intervention in Iraq.
And, finally, some of the saner members of the Bush Administration are edging — crablike — to this conclusion. Consider the following:
‘On March 28, columnist Robert Novak, who has a long history of credible reporting and strong contacts in the Bush administration, reported in The Chicago Sun-Times that there is “determination in the Bush administration to begin irreversible withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq this year.” Novak gives credit primarily to Secretary of State Condolezza Rice who he says “is expected to support administration officials who want to leave even if what is left behind does not constitute perfection.”
Ever since el Sistani forced the Bushites into holding elections, the US has been in a no-win situation.
It’s not Vietnam: in Vietnam, the US fought to keep its major enemy out of power, and lost. In Iraq, the US is bankrupting itself by protecting the political power of its major enemy, Iran.
Iraq is not Vietnam: it’s weirder.
And that’s why I opposed the invasion and its absurd consequences.