I’m so mixed up and confused
It is said by administration supporters that we must keep our forces in Iraq in order to preserve our credibility. Question: when we invaded Iraq, was our purpose to establish our credibility? Actually, no. Our purpose was to remove a regime that seemed to possess dangerous WMDs, and, secondarily, to plant democracy in Iraq as the model of a new, non-terrorist Mideast.
The above question suggests similar ones. It is said by administration supporters that we must stay in Iraq to prevent the mass slaughter that would occur in that country if our forces left. Question: when we invaded, was our purpose to prevent mass slaughter? Actually, no. It was to remove a regime that seemed to possess dangerous WMDs, and, secondarily, to plant democracy in Iraq as the model of a new, non-terrorist Mideast
Also, it is said by administration supporters that we must stay in Iraq to prevent Iran gaining power over Iraq. But when we invaded, was our purpose to prevent Iran from gaining power over Iraq? No, it was to remove WMDs and spread democracy.
An Indian living in the West writes:
I think the U.S. has no option but to remain in Iraq indefinitely. What are the likely possibilities if America were to withdraw?LA replies:
So the U.S. simply has to keep an army in Iraq forever, to prevent the possibilly of Iran gaining hegemony over Iraq. It seems to me ILW is treating one possibilty as a certainty. Further, his argument is based on the premise that the U.S. is responsible for organizing the Muslim world, maintaining power balances within the Muslim world, and so on. This is like a death sentence for the United States.Andrew E. writes:
why don’t we just take the oil fields? what are they—Iraqis, Iranians—going to do about it? Why ruin our entire army if it’s merely the oil weapon we can’t lose? Isn’t everyone—Democrats, Republicans—always talking about finding ways to end the wealth transfer to the Middle East? Problem solved.Mark Jaws writes:
You cannot possibly be confused as President Bush is. In him is a man, who throughout his tortured presidency has claimed the following: (1) Those who opposed the nomination of Harriet Miers must have been “anti-women;” (2) Those who sat guard on the border with binoculars and cell phones to assist the beleagured Border Patrol must have been “vigilantes;” (3) Those who insist the federal government actually enforce our immigration laws must have been “xenophobes;” but (4) those Mexicans who illegally snuck into our country in violation of our sovereignty and who will undoubtedly drop out of school, go on welfare, have illegitimate children, and commit crimes at rates far above the national average, must have been driven by “family values.”M. Jose writes:
While I agree that I don’t think we ought to stay in Iraq, I do not agree with your column’s implication that there is something illogical about the reasons for staying in Iraq being different for the reasons for invading in the first place.LA replies:
When the very people making these arguments never mention how we got from “there” to “here,” i.e., from invading Iraq for WMDs and democracy to having to stay in Iraq to prevent mass slaughter, an Iranian takeover, and loss of U.S. credibility, then it does become confusing. Of course you and I know how this happened in reality. It happened because we destroyed Iraq’s only existing form of order, evil despotism, and replaced it with “freedom,” i.e., chaos and sectarian civil war, thus leading to the possibility of mass slaughter, Iranian takeover, and U.S. loss of credibility. So, the fact that this happened is not what is incoherent or impossible to understand. What is incoherent and impossible to understand are the arguments of the people who are saying we must stay in Iraq. My mock-plaintive title, “I’m so mixed up and confused,” is a humorous expression of the befuddlement of a reasonably rational person trying to follow on its own terms a debate that has led us from “We are the instrument of God, spreading democracy over the earth!” to “We can’t leave Iraq or there will be mass murder!” with nary a word as to how the first led to the second or even any reference to the fact that the first led to the second. The title is a gesture of protest against the quasi-Orwellian reality in which we now live. “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia!”—“We’ve always been in Iraq in a desperate effort to prevent mass slaughter and an Iranian takeover!”Mark Jaws writes:
I agree wholeheartedly with Andrew E.—we should ultimately be only concerned with the oil fields and be prepared to seize and hold them—forever, if necessary. That task is a whole lot easier than trying to bring Arab Moslems into the 21st century. I personally could not care less if Iran took control of most of Iraq because it would result in thousands of fatwas being decreed throughout the Arab Sunni world calling for jihad against the non-Arab Persian usurper. With any luck, Iran may become hopelessly bogged down in Iraq, and see its own stability shaken. All that matters is the oil. Let’s simply say so and admit the Arab Moslem is not worth the sacrifice.LA replies:
What you say about the possibility of Iraq becoming Iran’s Vietnam illustrates how weird is the idea of our trying to “game” the Mideast. No one can say how anything would work out over there. Something that may seem calamitous, like an Iranian takeover of Iraq, may turn out to be positive. We cannot even begin to direct or organize the internal affairs of that world for our own benefit. We must aim at what is indispensable—eliminating intolerable threats, gaining control of oil fields on a temporary basis if that is necessary—and not concern ourselves with anything beyond that.Leonard K. writes:
Taking the oil fields in the Middle East is a brilliant idea, not only in Iraq and Iran, but in Saudi Arabia. That would be the real “war on terror” because, without funding, terror would cease to exist!
Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 28, 2007 01:19 PM | Send