False Arguments On Iraq

(image via prwatch)

Check this out (Mark Carlton) (the blog itself is a treat.  Its called “an honest debate”, and cites George Orwell non ironically).  He’s having a debate with a fellow also named Dan:

I do understand and accept the sincerity of a person who believes what Dan has written here. I don’t think he wants an American defeat in Iraq. I believe he sees no way for us to win and, frankly, I don’t either at this point. But I do not believe the leaders of the Democratic Party share his point of view. In fact, given their goal of gaining and keeping power, a perceived American victory would be the worst thing that could possibly happen to them.

The first thing to pick out is the tactic of assuming your opponent’s side before dispatching their argument.  Don’t do that.  Sure, it can fool some of the people some of the time, but it inevitably leads to overextension:

I believe he sees no way for us to win and, frankly, I don’t either at this point.

If Mark doesn’t see a way to win, then his criticism of Dems for acting on this reality rings a bit hollow.  Not that it had substance in the first place:

In fact, given their goal of gaining and keeping power, a perceived American victory would be the worst thing that could possibly happen to them.

Let’s take a look at why this is wrong.  A victory in Iraq would not erase the lies that brought us there.  It would not erase the thousands of US lives, lost, forever.  It would not bring back the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who were killed, or the millions whose lives have been ruined.  It wouldn’t siphon away the millions of dollars and thousands of new recruits Al Qaeda snatched using the suffering of the Iraqi people as a tool.  And it wouldn’t restore our image as a just and noble country.  This would be no vindication for the Republicans.

But it would help.  It would mean more Americans coming home safely.  More Iraqis living in safety and something beginning to approach normalcy.  The massive instability in the middle east taking a few steps back.  Our military budget leaving room for the little things like schools and disaster relief.  In short, an end to the war would be a huge help for our country, and for the world.  It would be a blessing, and the Democratic party, like any party, can benefit from a blessing.  (Emphasis mine):

Unfortunately, the more visible leaders of the Democratic Party, as Ann Coulter demonstrated, have been predicting and rooting for an American defeat from the beginning. Their statements speak for themselves.

Quoting Ann Coulter is not how one engages in serious debate.  But moving on to the more ridiculous parts of that statement:

How is predicting a defeat a bad thing?  How is an accurate assessment of a military situation an indication of disloyalty.  The answer is it isn’t, unless of course you are in the Bush Administration (Progressive Daily Beacon):

George W. Bush knows how to get Generals to concur with his disastrous plans: he fires all that disagree and promotes the numbskulls who agree.  When Bush wanted to invade Iraq, General Shinseki warned that it would require a few hundred thousand troops … not to win the war, but rather to secure the peace. Bush and his people — Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz chief among them — disagreed. They fired Shinseki and, of course, we all know now that the General knew exactly what he was talking about and that the President and his people were fools.

Its idiotic to ignore reality, but its worse to suggest the people who correctly predicted the outcome of this disastrous war were anything but correct.

As for “rooting” for a defeat, that has never been anything more than a stale talking point for the “right of Bill O’Reilly” set.

Putting the two together in that sentence:

Unfortunately, the more visible leaders of the Democratic Party, as Ann Coulter demonstrated, have been predicting and rooting for an American defeat from the beginning.

Is rather crafty.  It taints the necessary act of predicting the outcome of our actions with the undesirable act of rooting for a negative outcome.

Like it or not, we cannot afford to lose in Iraq. And with the anti-war Democrats demanding withdrawal that’s exactly what they’re calling for. Do they and those who agree with them really think there will be no consequences? I think those who agree with them would do well to ask the next question. Then what?

This is curious.  Let’s go back a little earlier in Mark’s post (emphasis mine):

I believe he sees no way for us to win and, frankly, I don’t either at this point.

Compared to:

Like it or not, we cannot afford to lose in Iraq.

So we can’t win, but we can’t afford to.  Whuh?  That makes zero sense.  But the whole proposition is devoid of sense.  At this point there is no “win” in Iraq.  There is only the question of how we work towards ending the civil war we ignited, and helping people in the country we destroyed.  The answer, strange as it may seem to Republicans, is to withdraw.  The Iraqi people, overwhelmingly, want us out.  Our presence is making the situation worse.

But let’s take a look at what it would take to win.  The original assessment called for hundreds of thousands of troops.  After President Bush’s cut, we’ll have roughly one hundred thousand and a severely strained military.  Are Republicans prepared to reinstate the draft?  Are they prepared for the deaths, of our soldiers and of Iraqi civilians, that this extended will create?   Are they prepared to raise taxes, significantly, to pay for everything?  Of course not.  They won’t even raise taxes to pay for the current excursion.  Hell, they won’t even cut back on the rampant “for the rich” tax cuts Bush and willing Republicans greedily rushed into place.

We’ve lost in Iraq.  That is the reality.  We should be focusing on how to reduce the suffering and end the conflict, not rehashing blind arguments painting a glorious military victory in our future just around the corner.  We’ve been hearing that line since Bush Declared Mission Accomplished, and we’re not buying it anymore.

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4 Responses

  1. I think that Jon Steward Mobius strip analogy works best. You know your screwed when it looks as bad going in as it does going out.

    I like how “we can’t predict the future if we stay, but we can tell you exactly what will happen if we leave”.

    Somebody should check the warranty on that Crystal Ball(tm).

  2. Hey friend,

    Thanks for the compliments on the blog, and your blog looks splendid as well. I particularly like the block quote style, I have been trying without success to jazz mine up a little more. Any suggestions on how to do so? Of course, it goes without saying that the commentary is substantial and insightful – great work. As you’ve no doubt seen, my blog roll is picture oriented – FBook or email me with a picture (roughly 50×50) and I’ll put your blog on the list – it belongs there. Keep up the great work.
    Chris -http://misterbrightside.wordpress.com/

  3. BTW – if you’d be interested, the idea of guest-posting on each other’s blogs interests me – might help spread our ideas a little further, and I get the feeling we are the same page ideologically…let me know what you think.

  4. Rafael,
    Indeed. When you put their predictions next to each other “if we leave? disaster! If we stay? ….idunno”, they look even more foolish than usual.
    chriseckel,
    Hey! Some of the themes just have nicer quotes. You *could* get the custom css upgrade. Personally I dig just using the pre-made.
    I’ll cut up something later for you to use as a picture.
    I would be interested in some guest posting. I think that’s a great idea.

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