Thursday, November 17, 2005

The straight talk express

John McCain was on NPR this week. Asked in an e-mail whether or not Iraq was worth it, he said, plainly, "If we succeed, it was--if we don't, it wasn't." We can all agree that success would be a free, stable, Democratic Iraq free of most US troops in 2-10 years.

Is McCain correct?


At 4:01 PM, Blogger StandingOutInTheCold said...

My first reaction is that McCain dodged the question. But after thinking about it for a few minutes I think that he is correct. If we fail in Iraq then we'll probably end up in a worse place than originally, and we'll have lost more than 2000 military personnell and billions of dollars to get there. I don't think anyone would say that is something worth doing. However if we're successful then it will definetly be worth it. The price we have paid is worth freeing millions of people from a tyranical dictator, introducing democracy in an arab nation, stopping some funding to terrorism, giving the US a real arab ally in the Middle East, and taking out a potential provider of WMDs to terrorists (even if Saddam didn't have any WMDs at the time we attacked he had used them before and certainly retained the ability to make them again if he really wanted to). Now, that's a lot of different things that I hope will come from the war in Iraq. It's possible that we may accomplish some of those things without others. At what point is it worth it? I'm not sure. I think that if we introduce a real democracy in the Middle East that is not dictated by Islam or controlled by corruption then it will be worth it. If Iraq becomes a theocracy or falls back into dictatorship then we wasted our time or possibly even made things worse.

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Inviolable said...

If he's right, then I agree with him. If he isn't, then I don't.

At 6:05 PM, Blogger BrianESpilner said...

No he's not right, Iraq is not worth it anyway you look at it...

At 6:07 PM, Anonymous cranky old liberal said...

McCain is right, but the question is trickier than it seems.

Say your 16 year old son gets his 15 year old girl friend pregnant. The child is born, the boy bugs out, the girl tries to raise the child but can't cope, the child goes to live in a string of foster homes, some of which are miserable. But the child grows up to be a functional adult who... uh... invents a cure for a certain cancer. Many lives are saved.

Was it WORTH the stupid 16 year old getting his girl friend pregnant? Well, yes, but... it was still wrong and stupid.

What so many Americans resent about the invasion of Iraq is that we were told we had to invade right away or there would be a mushroom cloud over an American city with Saddam's fingerprints on it. That is what we were told. It wasn't true. I won't say we were lied to, but it wasn't true.

Then, when there were no WMDs in Iraq, the motivation of the war was retrofitted: we went in to liberate the Iraqi people and build a democratic state in the Middle East. Good things, to be sure. But the Congress would not have voted to invade for that purpose. They voted as they did, authorizing Bush to use force if necessary to enforce U.N. resolutions and protect America, because of the WMD threat.

Now, we've got this baby. We're hoping it grows up to develop a cure for cancer ("a real arab ally in the middle east", if you will). The odds are against it. But, it might be "worth it" in the end.

Now suppose the 16 year old in my parable started saying he had done exactly the right thing, he had planned on being a father from the beginning, and his child was going up to make a great contribution to society. Who would want to listen to such b.s.? That is what Bush and Cheney are doing.

At 10:12 AM, Blogger BrianESpilner said...

I like crank old liberal's stories, they're good.

At 10:34 AM, Blogger RedHurt said...

I agree that it's hard to take an issue as big and multi-faceted as our involvement in Iraq and say it was or was not a success. Certain aspects of it will or will not be regardless of our out come there for different people for different reasons.

Yet for the majority of people, for the majority of Americans, and for the world, producing a stable democracy in Iraq would indeed make the entire operation a "sucess", and pulling out early and letting it go to a different dictatorship would be an absolute disaster. So I agree, but only with the caveat of who it's successful for.

At 10:34 AM, Blogger RedHurt said...

BrianESpliner is a success no matter what.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger BrianESpilner said...

What's a success is the giant sandwich i'm about to eat because I have no classes on fridays.


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