Postmodern classic?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Criticisms of the United States Iraq policy

So my moratorium on politics lasted all of 3-4 hours. Sue me. Back to Iraq.

The best logical framework for understanding the US strategy in Iraq, in my humble opinion, is Steven Den Beste's 20-page treatise. Tigerhawk recently wrote a commentary on this, providing a 2-year update of this tract, factoring in recent developments to the progress of the war. These are excellent articulations for providing a glimpse of what our nations planners and experts are calculating in their execution of ongoing operations in the Middle East. Both, however, are quite long- therefore an interested person with limited time might just go to the Tigerhawk link, but the SDB link is there if you want the original document.

These writings are a far cry from what I've seen anybody on the opposite side produce. There's this Atlantic article by Nir Rosen talking about why the locals are unsatisfied. It's summed up at John Robb's Weblog here, but it's really quite weak. I only offer it as what I could find and maybe I don't know where to look, I don't want to falsefully represent these articles as the best an opposing point of view would offer. That would be a strawman argument. Here's a Larry Johnson on 'Why Murtha is Right', providing an emotional indictment to Murtha's emotional outburst. Although it's not such a surprise that Murtha spoke out, as some have noted already. I characterize his words as emotional, and not the framework for a rational discussion on the future of the US in Iraq. Others with military backgrounds seem to agree. Why not ask someone who's there, since evidently (according to Chickenhawk Theory 101) those who haven't served can't have an opinion on war? For my part, when I hear someone advocating 400,00 troops, I have to really wonder whether that's a realistic possibility. Are they just stupid, or do they really believe the crap that comes out of their mouth? Both conclusions are sad to consider. But no one seems to care about that, it's the cheap shots this rhetoric affords political opponents of the Bush administration. The message then, it seems to me, is that the subjects of our countries goals and means to accomplish them are of secondary interest to cheap political power-plays. This is where I qualify my idealist credentials in rejecting that line of thought as juvenile. But we sadly see that this is the normal state of things, as abstract principles and ideals such as 'civilization' must be fought for at their level as well.

Where is there a forum for an honest criticism of the war? I am open to an honest critique. I would love to discuss the 'root causes' of terrorism, or the past history of the US and the Middle East, the ramifications of colonialism.... you might not like the conclusions I draw, but my arguments are mostly coherent. Mostly. And I've been lucky to have friends and family call me out when I sound like I'm smoking crack. However, I've been having a hard time in trying to have an honest discussion about the whole subject. Many who oppose the war don't seem capable of arguing in good faith, so it's difficult to find a common ground. Tigerhawk also had this post on Democratic Dissent, which if you read nothing else I've linked to in this post, you should definitely check this out.

For me, I see something more philosophical amidst the arcane topical arguments of dissent, Middle Eastern politics and the military misunderstandings that consist of the conventional arguments of the day. To me the argument is of will in the Nietzschean sense, the problem being how does one impose oneself on another? Whether it's submitting to the democratic process or fighting a war, one must be prepared for the consequences that any action entails. Our current ideologies and outlooks are not sufficient to explain why and how this should occur. But since not many people are interested in that, I'll restrict myself to complaining about moralizing politicians, and continue my support of Bush (if only because the alternative is so much worse!).


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