Sunday, April 22, 2007

Progressive Case For War

The craven and despicable Sen. Harry Reid declares the Iraq war "lost" while our troops are still fighting in the field.

Meanwhile, Dean Esmay cogently outlines the "progressive" case for the Iraq war, which one would have imagined Democrats would have embraced.

Furthermore, the comment section after the essay provides an enlightening Socratic dialogue, as the anti-war lefties trot out all their usual arguments only to have them deftly shot down.

Read it all, but here is the meat of it:
It's very hard for me to look at American Muslims, or Muslims in general, or anyone who considers themselves "liberal" or "progressive" or "humanist," who claim to stand for freedom and human rights and then attack everything America has done and tried to do in Iraq over the last four years.

The fact is that the naysayers claimed we weren't really striving for liberation. We were. They claimed we'd install a new puppet dictator. We did not. They claimed that we wouldn't really try to set up a democracy. We did. They claimed there would be no legitimate elections. The Iraqis had three national elections in a row, all certified as legitimate by international observers, not even counting the local elections that were held before that.
...
Furthermore, anyone calling himself a "liberal" or a "humanist"--Muslim or not--is in my view faced with a stark choice:

You either sit around pretending that a vicious, murderous, fascist "insurgency" that routinely cuts people's heads off and shoots children in the face is the "legitimate voice of the Iraqi people," or you recognize that there is in Iraq a government elected by the Iraqi people working under a Constitution written entirely by Iraqis that recognizes human rights better than any in the Arab world.
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If you take the former position you have no business calling yourself a liberal or a progressive or a humanist. If you take the latter position, then maybe you have to swallow the bitter pill that someone named George Bush, whom you don't like and maybe think is incompetent, was the instigator of something that damn well needs to be supported.

But you can't have it both ways.
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The progressive, humanist position is not, and never has been, the "anti-war" position.
And for the comments, in which other readers respond to anti-war arguments (shown in italics):

Martin L. Shoemaker:
As to whether Saddam should have been removed, I am glad he was removed. However, the correct thing would have been to remove him using an international consensus.

In other words, it was better that he not be removed, since international consensus was never going to happen. The French and Germans and Russians were profitting from him being in power. One more time: international consensus was never going to happen, so you would have preferred that the people of Iraq stay slaves.

Oh, and how many countries in international? We went in with the support of 60.

How can anyone talk to Muslim nations about respecting international human rights law when we also violate the international legal regime.

We did not violate anything. We enforced the international legal regime. The UN said "Comply with these 14 resolutions, or there will be consequences." But when push came to shove, there were no consequences forthcoming from the UN because the French and Germans and Russians were profitting from him being in power. So with international law on our side, we enforced the consequences without the help of those who were profitting from him being in power.

How can I say to Iran, don't torture your prisoners when we ourselves torture. Do I say "only torture as little as we do."

Moot point, since we don't torture.

I tend to think that the Iraqi army should be given the best tools it can be given and we should leave. Let's see them take care of their own house. That is autonomy, which is what you claim you want for them.

Sure. Right after we leave Germany, Japan, Korea, and Kosovo. Because Americans can't ever provide security, after all. They're only occupiers.

Dean Esmay:
There wouldn't be an insurgency if there was no occupation.

Without the occupation, there would be blood running in the streets every day, exactly as before. There would be rape rooms and children's prisons and women having their heads cut off and displayed on the front lawns of their families because Saddam wanted it that way.

You're blaming the Americans for what these murderers do, Ali. Exactly like the IRA bastards did in Ireland, blaming the English for whatever evil the IRA worked when it bombed schoolbusses and dragged men out of bed and shot them in front of their wives and children.

As to whether Saddam should have been removed, I am glad he was removed. However, the correct thing would have been to remove him using an international consensus.

So we can only remove tyrants by consensus. Without consensus we may not act to stop genocide. The same international consensus that is even now ignoring what's going on in Darfur.

Who is it that you're wanting to be part of your consensus? The tyrants who rule China and Russia? These are the folks you want to form your "consensus" with?

A majority of the Security Council voted to take out Saddam by force, and dozens of nations joined us in this effort. A few with financial vested interests opposed it, and happened to have a veto in the Security Council. These are the people you stand with?

You call yourself a humanist?

How can anyone talk to Muslim nations about respecting international human rights law when we also violate the international legal regime.

How can you stand up for an international regime that supports dictators and mass murderers in the name of "international law?"

How can I say to Iran, don't torture your prisoners when we ourselves torture. Do I say "only torture as little as we do."

Aha. So if our enemies routinely do things ten, one hundred times as bad as we do, they are excused simply because well, we sometimes also bad things?

What's next? Will you compare Abu Ghraib--in which the American military itself came forward with the story, and prosecuted the guilty parties--with Saddam's rape rooms, plastic shredders, mass gassings, and children's prisons?

Only saints are allowed to criticize, and only saints are allowed to act?

Going to war was a mistake. There would be no insurgency and al-Qaeda would be crushed in Afghanistan/Pakistan.

I doubt it very, very much. But okay, it's an arguable point. It's also irrelevant: the deed is done, and cannot be undone.

You still have absolutely no business calling yourself a progressive or a humanist if you do not do everything you can to support the legitimately elected Iraqi democracy. Which is free and independent and working under a Constitution that they themselves wrote.

If you want to talk about whether we should continue to remain in Iraq until it is safer for Iraqis, I waffle on that question. I tend to think that the Iraqi army should be given the best tools it can be given and we should leave. Let's see them take care of their own house. That is autonomy, which is what you claim you want for them.

I not only want it for them, I already know they have it. Which is why they have a Constitution containing things we don't like, and sometimes do things we don't agree with.

They had no autonomy at all under Saddam. They now have more than any nation in the Arab world.

If you cannot acknowledge this you have no business at all calling yourself a progressive or a humanist.

Martin L. Shoemaker:
I'm sorry to tell you that international consensus is not determined by counting countries. It is determined by proper legal procedures such as an authorization of war by the UN.

No. Sorry. Wrong. When the countries with veto power profit from the slavery and the butchery, then the UN is never going to authorize the war. There were 14 resolutions, consequences promised, a violated inspections regime, and a broken truce. We had all the legal grounds we needed; but folks like you wanted to "just one more" the problem away, while the Iraqi people paid the price.

You are consistent: consistently on the side of the dictator against his victims. You can dress it up in legalisms all you want (all the while ignoring the legalisms of the 14 resolutions, the consequences promised, the violated inspections regime, and the broken truce); but when it came down to it, you would let people be brutalized and killed for the sake of French and German and Russian oil and arms profits.

If the international system is such that Russians and French profit from slavery, then fix the system, do not occupy a nation to make the point that the international system is broken. Forest for trees.

Naive, and also failing to comprehend.

The system cannot be fixed. The people who are the problem have veto power over any fix. You recently made a snide remark about federalism defending Jim Crowe. Well, this is the same, but on a much grander and worse scale. How far would the civil rights movement have gotten if Bull Connor had been President?

And we did not "occupy a nation to make the point that the international system is broken." We enforced international law and liberated people, despite the yelpings of the Bull Connors of the international community.

Yet, interestingly, the moment things went south in Iraq, we were back within the international legal system.

Went south how? Metrics, please, with reference to past campaigns that were successful according to those metrics.

And you want the international system fixed? So do we all. Letting them come in after we did the heavy lifting gives them a chance to redeem themselves from their shame.

We acted like a rogue state. Either own up to it and say we should go all the way, comprehensively and be beyond the UN, or say that we made a mistake in going outside the UN.

Saddam was the rogue with the lynching rope, and the UN was his Bull Connor backing him up. It's not "rogue" to ignore corrupt authority, especially when the law already authorizes you to do what you're doing.

But you would let Saddam have one more chance, and one more chance, and one more chance, as long as France and Germany and Russia were getting rich off the deal.

Owen Strawn:
Ali, it seems to you that every trivial excuse is justification for not doing what needs to be done, but the most compelling reasons are somehow inadequate to justify action.

1 Comments:

Anonymous alienmist said...

I think it is no use spilling more coalition blood in Iraq, it is better to let the people of Iraq taste what they are longing for...

This one powerful weapon that the civilized world does not often use. Pull back and let the other side see the full extent of their folly.

I would suggest that Bush and allies announce the withdrawal of coalition troops from Iraqi cities and populated areas.

In a few weeks the ensuing chaos and bloodbath will force the anti-americans hecklers to beg that the coalition restores order.

I could be wrong..

1:01 PM, May 02, 2007  

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