Towards A Good Samaritan World

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pat Buchanan calls the Iraq War "the worst strategic blunder in U.S. history." As usual, he offers not the slightest shred of argument for the claim. He doesn't compare the Iraq War to past "strategic blunders" and explain why it is worse. He doesn't explain why the Iraq War was a strategic blunder. He doesn't even pretend to.

From the liberal/internationalist point of view, the rising sectarian violence in Iraq is embarrassing. From the "realist" point of view, there's no reason that it should be. If anything it's good: the more the Sunnis and Shias kill each other, the less of their angst they can vent against us, and the less able they are to form a united front against us-- or Israel. No wonder Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently said:

"I know all of his (Bush's) policies are controversial in America. There are some who support his policies in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, and some who do not," he said.

"I stand with the president because I know that Iraq without Saddam Hussein is so much better for the security and safety of Israel, and all of the neighbors of Israel without any significance to us," added Olmert, who was speaking in English.

"Thank God for the power and the determination and leadership manifested by President Bush."

Another reason for Pat Buchanan to dislike the Iraq War?

UPDATE: Wait, I was wrong, Buchanan does have something resembling an argument:

The people who were right about Iraq were those who rejected bipartisanship to warn that invading Iraq was an unnecessary, unwise and, yes, even an unjust war that would inflame the Arab and Islamic world against us.

An unforgivably stupid-- or, perhaps, dishonest-- analysis. The Arab and Islamic was already "inflamed against us" before the war. The war inflamed some in the Arab and Islamic world with support for us-- see bloggers like Iraq the Model and Mesopotamian. It inflamed many in the Arab and Islamic world against each other. It certainly didn't provoke some kind of unified anti-American movement in the Islamic world. I don't think even Pat Buchanan is stupid enough to think that it did. He's simply lying, in a soulless bid to bamboozle Middle America into buying into his depraved Fortress America ideology.


  • Dunno why the sign-in feature isn't working, but here's the comment:

    The war in Iraq obviously is neither alpha or omega of Islamic resentment toward the West in general and the US in specific. That said, if the war in Iraq had gone well, it would have tended to improve our image in the area, while the way it did go embarrassed our friends and vindicated* our enemies. Yes, the guy already hated us before we accidentally backed over his cat last week, but it didn't really help matters.

    All that said, Buchanan seems to me to be phenomenally heartless when the people in difficulty are foreign and non-Christian, so for him there was never really any reason to help in the first place, nor is there any cause to worry about genocide now.

    *In the court of public opinion in the Arab world and really most of rest of the world. In fact, I have occasionally worried that anti-American sentiment could cause real damage to our multi-nationals and exports, though I haven't seen anything unequivocable yet.

    By Anonymous Nato, at 8:27 AM  

  • "If anything it's good: the more the Sunnis and Shias kill each other, the less of their angst they can vent against us, and the less able they are to form a united front against us..."

    Hey, that's a great point. People killing each other is good because it removes angst! Wow, that's so profound. I bet we could cut all violent crime in half if we just killed half of the population.

    Perhaps you meant it tongue in cheek, but really it came off more like you were immitating Pat Buchannon with that statement than refuting him.

    By Anonymous Tom, at 9:00 AM  

  • Actually, he was giving as sort of reductio of the realists, if I read it correctly. I wouldn't say that Buchanan is a true realist, though - I think Lance is astute when he mentions the "Fortress America" as the main thrust of Buchanan's ideas. If the rest of the world (except Israel) just evaporated, I think he'd be fine with that.

    For some reason the login feature still isn't working. Bad blogspot, bad!

    By Anonymous Nato, at 9:54 AM  

  • Yes, I was putting a "realist" hat on for a moment. Of course, even from a realist point of view, it's not that killing people is good because it removes angst, in general; it's good if your already angst-ridden enemies kill each other instead of you.

    Personally, I'm not very comfortable with the realist position; there's something amoral about it. And yet there are always moral complexities involved in exercising power, and there are many good things that can't (at least, not obviously) be achieved except by exercising power.

    In repsonse to Nato: I don't think Pat Buchanan's indifference to the fate of his fellow men has anything to do with religion. Buchanan is even more contemptuous of Mexicans than he is of Iraqis, even though Mexicans adhere to the same Catholic faith as he does. To lump Pat Buchanan with the theocons is an honor Buchanan doesn't come anywhere close to deserving.

    By Blogger Nathanael, at 11:27 AM  

  • Of course "better them than us" is morally repugnant. After all, what separates us from them other than nationalism? Isn't that the whole point of "Fortress America", that the nation/state is the highest good, even more important than people in the abstract?

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