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Comments Credits
Comments by YACCS
Saturday, August 30, 2003

You have to be kidding

This came across the e-mail transom and was so blindingly wrongheaded I felt the need to comment on it.

Before I comment, let me say this: I am no pacifist. Our war in Iraq is wrong but Saddam's depature is a good thing. The problem is that the follow through sucked. War on the cheap doesn't work. But as long as human beings exist, some will have to be shot down like dogs so the rest of us can be safe. It's sad, it's regretable, but it's a fact of life. Not that war works. War is always a monument to human failure. But sometimes, humans fail.

column by Justin Raimondo

"Yes, but what about World War II?" There was a triumphant finality in his voice, as if to say: Gotcha! "What would you have done then?"

"Stayed out of it. After all, what did we get out of it? Soviet-occupied Europe and half a century of Cold War."

"What are you" – the poor kid looked frightened, for a moment, as if he'd seen a ghostly apparition – "some kind of isolationist?"

"You got that one right."


Now, isolationism failed. Besides the millions murdered by the Germans and Japanese, the US would have been unable to protect its basic interests. The Germans spent a lot of time and resources in South America. The idea that the Germans could have controlled our markets and resources like rubber and oil would have weakened the ability of the US to protect their basic economic interests. Would Nazipec be better than OPEC? I don't think so. Isolationism is an ideology of ignorance.
We didn't fight WWIII just because we were good guys and it was a moral cause. Our basic security was at stake.

There is a case to be made that a Dean victory would be worse than four more years of Team Bush. The Bush crowd at least is now saying that the occupation of Iraq is going to be as short as possible. We know they're lying, but at least they pay homage to the traditionally "isolationist," i.e. non-interventionist sentiments of the American people. The Democrats, and the more "internationalist" Republicans, like Senator Richard Lugar, are critical of the President for not "admitting" that the occupation is going to be anywhere from 5 to 10 years, if not more. They take the Dean line, that "we're stuck" there, and can't leave because, although it wasn't before, Iraq is somehow mysteriously tied in with our "national security."

Both sides are wrong. But what is he supposed to say? We'll withdraw immediately? That's not coming out of anyone's mouth. And if he can't see the difference between anyone and Bush's Iraq policy, well, you can lead an idiot to a library, but you can't make them read.

In order to get a word in edgewise, the antiwar movement is going to have to mobilize behind a third party candidacy, most practically a party that already has ballot status in most states.

This narrows the field considerably, since the Libertarian and Green parties are the only ones that come close to meeting such a tough standard. ......... I've had a few letters from readers who would dearly like Congressman Ron Paul to run, as he did in 1988. Now that's the kind of doctor we need to run for President: not the politically ambidextrous Dr. Dean, but the principled plain-speaking Dr. Paul. If only he would do it….


Oh yes, let's have another fantasy candidacy and let Bush get reelected again.

Let's have a real discussion here, not some peacenik fantasies.

The US is going to be involved around the world. The American people like that involvement and support it. Dean, like most mainstream pols, want to redefine how we are involved in the world. Kerry has pretty much made it clear that the current fascination with Imperium is doomed to fail. But we do not get to walk away from global responsibilities. The US, as both a democracy and superpower, will be asked to help create stability.

Raimondo mentions Liberia, but forgets that the Liberians asked for US help. So have others.

Why aren't we isolationists? Because all that does is allow unstable conditions to develop and we wind up there anyway. Not all use of force is bad or wrong. The US can and should use its power wisely and carefully, but there will be times Americans can prevent suffering. There is such a thing as the just use of power. But how can you argue with someone who thinks fighting WWII was wrong. We should not be blinded by Bush's abuse of that power. We have to reset the terms of the debate and the way we use our power. But it is a fantasy to think we will not use it.

No one ever accused Dean of being a pacifist and he isn't one. The ideologically pure will have to run to Nader or the Liberterians or some other people who won't get elected so they can make their points and feel good about themselves.

posted by Steve @ 4:39:00 PM

4:39:00 PM

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