Thursday, June 30, 2005

Tough Choices Ahead for Anti-War Movement

For those who are opposed to the war in Iraq, this is a difficult time. While Democratic leaders like Senator Joe Biden (DE) and John Kerry (MA) are offering criticism but still arguing that this is a war we must win, others such as the powerful leftist group, are pushing for immediate withdrawal.

But withdrawal equals defeat. And defeat doesn’t mean we all go back to living in peace. This is not Vietnam where the enemy will cheer our departure and then set up a government that never really troubles us again. No, if the enemy wins in Iraq, you can be sure they will turn the country into a terrorist breeding ground focused at launching attacks at the Western world.

To those who say we wouldn’t be in this mess if we hadn’t invaded Iraq, there is little answer other than to say: unfortunately, at this point, that doesn’t matter. We did invade. And agreement or disagreement with that decision shouldn’t cloud reaction to the current realities.

Timothy Garton Ash makes much the same point today in The Guardian. After harshly criticizing Bush for creating this “massive blunder,” he points out to Europeans:

It would be suicidally dumb for any European to think, in relation to Iraq, "the worse the better". Jihadists now cutting their teeth in Iraq will make no fine distinctions between Washington and London, Berlin or Madrid. Any reader tempted to luxuriate schadenfreudishly in the prospect of a Vietnam-style US evacuation from Baghdad may be woken from that reverie by the blast from a bomb, planted in Charing Cross tube station by an Iraq-hardened terrorist.

I would add, terrorists hardened in Iraq aren’t going to target only Americans who supported the invasion. Voters in both Washington, DC and New York City gave Kerry over 90% of their support in 2004. But that doesn’t make either city any less of a target.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting people should be scared into supporting our continued involvement in Iraq. I’m just pointing out that the stakes have changed. We’re no longer fighting Saddam Hussein’s army that had no relation to al Qaeda. We are now fighting insurgents and terrorists that have clear and admitted ties to al Qaeda. You might agree with The Guardian that getting into this situation was a “massive blunder,” but you should also agree that withdrawing now would be a catastrophe.

Opponents of the war find themselves in a very difficult position. The conflict has morphed from a war of choice into a war of necessity. Can the anti-war movement adapt?


At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would seem that the "antiwar" movement, from leftward, has already adapted and made its choice. The more clearly it's understood that withdrawal from Iraq represents a defeat which will open the way to worldwide attacks against the U.S. and the Western world, the more ardently the "antiwar" movement works for it.

- David

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Jdeer165 said...

I think the far leftists, such as, think anything that damages America is good. I get the feeling they want the US so weakened and afraid of any type of action that we become isolationist and stop any foreign involvement, military or economic.

Does anyone get the feeling this a bad rerun of the pre-WWI isolationist movement, just not as upfront about it?

At 12:40 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

I would hope that MoveOn and others supporting unconditional withdrawal are doing so out of a misguided belief that Iraq would be better off without our help. I certainly hope MoveOn doesn't actually support creating conditions that will make us more vulnerable to attack. As such, I hope MoveOn members and sympathizers can be convinced that their policy position would do just that--it would open us up to more attacks. I hold out hope that minds can be changed.

At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Phil S said...

Many of us may believe that Bush misled or "lied" to us preceding going to war; is there any reason to not question where he's taking us now? Why isn't he willing to ask for a bipartison group to come to the WH and openly discuss possible options? Of course, this would mean admitting his team doesn't have the answers.
He has no interest in being truly straight-forward with the country; which is why the ratings for his speech were the lowest of his presidency. The public is beginning to see through this guy!

At 1:08 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

I think the far Left and not so far Left are Americans too. (Same for the far Right.) Their ideologies and work they promote might not be in sink with the realities at hand but they thrive for the same thing all Americans want-- PEACE… and that’s a good thing in anyone’s book. The one thing that screws everything up is War, like this war, and as have all wars of past, this one too has made so many a family cry trying to hang on to that one most powerful word in this world-- “FREEDOM.”
(Every time I put that word and our American flag in mind, together, it always brings a tear to my eye.) AubreyJ…………………

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Well said Aubrey. We all want peace. We just disagree on how to get there.

At 6:40 PM, Blogger Robert Rouse said...

I have a bit of a bilateral view on this. While I am totally against the way we went into this war (I don't believe Bush & Co. were honest with us about their motives), I'm of a mind that we have to stay and clean up our mess. I strongly believe that we need to admit to our mistakes, show a little humility, ask for help from NATO or the UN and move on. Admission of culpability (contrary to what Bushco would have you believe) is not a weakness.

There, i got through that saying "believe" only three times . . . make that four.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Adm. Happy Horatio Hornhonker said...

Alan had said-

> No, if the enemy wins in Iraq,
> you can be sure they will turn
> the country into a terrorist
> breeding ground focused at
> launching attacks at the Western
> world.

This is the trouble we now face due to having no plan in the first place on how to "Win the Peace."

There are plenty more breeding grounds throughout the world that will have to be cleaned out.

Now the big question is: Are we ever going to learn? Especially from this fiasco? I pray we do.

Those that have been enemies of the US over the past six decades in the rest of the world in addition to the upcoming violent troublemakers that are now being bred from our ongoing military suppression actions don't even give a damn about what happens in Iraq.

When one acts only like the biggest bully on the block -- offers absolutely no alternatives for fair and equitable business opportunities or fair and equitable economic growth and thereby stifle all dialog on a common ground -- there will always be those lurking in the shadows ready to take a big chunk out of your hide.

For those with a reasonable mind: I would highly recommend the work of Thomas P.M. Barnett for a wider scope of where we are currently at and where we must go. I will point out that this fella is no Johnny-come-lately in the field of Military/Diplomatic/World Affairs.

Interview with Brian Lamb

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Thomas P.M. Barnett, what`s "The Pentagon`s New Map"?


Well, what the book tries to do, really, is nothing less than to enunciate a successor to the cold war strategy of containment, in effect, to define the true sources of mass violence and terrorism within the global community, so as to facilitate, at first, their containment through diplomatic and military means, but ultimately, their eradication through economic and social integration.

And the mantra I use in the book is that it`s disconnectedness that defines danger. If you think about globalization as a process of integration, then the definitions of crisis we now face, like a 9/11, are instances where connectivity is disrupted. And when you think about it in those terms and you start casting what it means to wage a global war on terrorism within this larger process of globalization spread, you begin to see how a Bush administration can say, in effect, to take down a Saddam is to be part of -- logically, is located within a larger globalization -- or, excuse me -- global war on terrorism because, in effect, what we`re dealing with is those instances where you`re going to find very disconnected societies.

And it`s in that disconnectedness that we tend to find the violence and the bad treatment. And in many ways, what you`re waging war against with a bin Laden is a guy who looks to take a big chunk of humanity off line from the globalization process and install authoritarian regimes based on his particular definition of what a -- a good life is led.

Continues at: Interview with Brian Lamb


In the event those links don't work:

Jonah D. Wail

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous daveZ said...

You make excellent points as painful as they may be.

This disgraceful war was built on a foundation of arrogance, incompentence and deceit, but we are stuck with it.

We need to "win", whatever that means, but history is hardly on our side,


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