Wednesday, October 20, 2004

(Simple) Reasons To Be Against Iraq (Or Not)

As far as I can tell, there are two kinds of people opposed to what we're doing in Iraq: those who think we're doing the wrong thing, and those who think it was none of our business.

The "wrong thing" bunch are mostly on the left, and usually don't have a clue about what is really happening on the ground. They would watch gasp Al-Jazeera or cough the BBC, and believe it completely. They typically talk about imperialism, exploitation of natural resources (you know: oil) and other quaint retro-Marxist ideas. A slight variant of that view is that we're the wrong people, therefore we're doing the wrong thing by definition, and no evidence is necessary.

However, there is lots of evidence - mostly in favor. Any sane appraisal of the situation would indicate that there is nothing we could have done that would be a step down from Saddam, that things are far better now than before, even though we are fighting jihadis sent to the country by their masters from abroad, and that although we are hardly loved, there is considerable popular support for our project which is rapidly becoming a joint Iraqi-American project.

And the oil? We could have just bought it from Saddam, far more cheaply than going to war for it. We are buying it now, at market value. And the Iraqi people are getting the money, for the first time ever. Wow.

The "none of our business" bunch are mostly on the right (their flag-bearer is probably Pat Buchanan), and while I respect their views, I fear they have not thought through the implications. Everyone deserves to be free, helping them to be free is the only decent thing to do, and some of the proudest moments in our history were when we were doing just that. See below for the detailed version. The long term consequences of this view would be disastrous.

Are there good reasons to be opposed to what we're doing? Sure: for example, you might think it was bad strategy, or that it was poorly executed, or that we should have done something else using the same resources. "There weren't any WMDs" presumably falls within this category. But that is a rare criticism to hear by itself: almost always it is a by-the-way to one of the other criticisms above. As in, "We are evil imperialist occupiers who kill women and children in order to steal their oil... and-by-the-way-there-weren't-any-WMDs". Ah. I guess that explains it.