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Friday, March 23rd 2007

Bring'em Home…In A While…

Can We Replace That With ‘Nancy Pelosi?’

The House has passed a funding bill for Iraq which by its set up means troops must come home by September 1, 2008

The bill received 218 votes in favor, the minimum needed to guarantee passage in the 435-seat chamber. There were 212 votes opposed. The Democratic leadership held the voting open for two additional minutes past the originally scheduled 15 to lock up the majority.

A few hours before the vote, Ms. Pelosi summoned Democrats to a closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement, hoping to impress them one more time with the importance of the proposed legislation, the Democrats’ boldest step yet to try to end the war..

It goes without saying that with that margin the bill will not survive Bush’s veto (h/t Drudge).

Like many I have mixed feelings on the war which have turned more sour as the war has dragged on. I certainly haven’t covered it at all on this blog, despite a focus on other current event issues. That centers mostly around my torn feelings. I don’t know what it says about my moral compass that I can’t muster a strong opinion on this issue.

I will give myself some credit for always having and voicing doubts about how the invasion was in America’s best interest.

On the morality of the war I find a more conservative position though. I keep concluding that there is moral justification in removing an unelected tyrant. It may be unpopular with the liberals but if America has the will power (which it clearly does not) it is within moral boundaries to remove any tyrant with force, even through unilateral action. The immorality of the invasion, if there is any, has stemmed from our lack of post invasion planning and the condition we’ve left the country in. The immorality stems from the lies which were used to booster support for the invasion.

But when international anti-American protesters start denouncing the very invasion itself, I have to scoff.

That conclusion in no way speaks to whether we should do so. Clearly the Iraq war has not been in America’s best self interest. Such is where I draw my opposition from. However, as I said, I can’t build myself up to a sense of moral indignation.

That is all pre-war discussion. I suppose in the current debate I need to answer the above two questions in relation to any effort to remove American troops. Is our continued occupation immoral? Most of the world would shout a resounding ‘yes,’ but this is tougher than it looks. It is basically conclusively unanswerable, it seems. Would pulling out troops out be immoral? For my very simplistic sense of morality, doesn’t it matter solely on whether our continued presence improves or harms Iraq? Clearly we’re making a mess of the country. I have no doubt violence will drop quicker with American troops out of Iraq. But under what government and conditions the Iraqi people would come to live is open for more debate. How do we quantify such, much less predict what it will look like?

We must weigh subjective, unknowable, supposed consequences for a pull out against the conclusively unknowable chance that American troops gain “control” of Iraq if they remain.

Let me sound horrible and utilitarian here (perhaps my prefrontal cortex is damaged) but if America had the will power to institute a draft, to flood the country, we could gain control of Iraq. Such would, in part, require an allowance for less discrimination in American troop action, along with media censoring, and an empowering of the average Iraqi. I think, despite the lives expended in such an effort, America could come up with a sum total of lives saved compared to say letting this festering insurgency drag on until September 1, 2008 or compared to pulling out of Iraq and letting the sectarian violence flare up even more.

I don’t support such, I merely want to elucidate the distinction. I’m convinced it isn’t a matter of not being able to eventually bring the country to a better place than it was pre-invasion; it is a matter of not being able to do so with an ‘acceptable’ cost. I don’t know what sort of absolute moral implications that has on deciding whether to bring the troops home or not, or what sort of moral smear that puts on the American public for being unable to swallow such costs.

The second question is, is our continued occupation positive, compared to pulling out, for America? I feel more confident answering ‘no’ to this. Even if we believed we could achieve ‘success’ in Iraq it would do little to benefit America. I don’t believe pulling out somehow fosters future international terrorism. I don’t believe remaining protects America’s financial interests. The coming unfortunate consequences of a pull out in Iraq (increased sectarian violence, etc.) will do little to put America in a weaker foreign affairs position than it already is in.

I guess we should’ve elected more Dems to the Congress and guaranteed a veto proof margin on this bill.