As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Delayed Election Means Delayed Withdrawal

Iraq postponed their national elections yet again, pushing them back to 2010. Iraq can postpone elections if they want - I wish California would learn from them - but the President's Iraq withdrawal policy doesn't kick in until after national elections, and it's supposed to be accomplished by the end of August 2010. So now, we'd have to remove all combat troops from the country in a matter of seven months, which actually kind of is a precipitous withdrawal. And the Administration would almost certainly see this as a reason to delay the full withdrawal of US combat forces.

I don't believe this threatens the overall withdrawal by the end of 2011. But extending the agreed-upon deadlines would cause anger at home, and probably abroad in Iraq, even if it's seen as a reaction to the delayed election. The bleeding of these deadlines could easily lead to mission creep. And I agree with Alan Grayson, and some point you have to say that enough is enough, and end the policy of endless war.

The reason why I said what I said is because the fundamental goal of our endeavors in Iraq and Afghanistan is supposed to be to protect us. That’s why we call the Defense Department the Defense Department, because it’s supposed to defend America. And whatever the perceived threat may be, whether it’s al-Qaeda or the Taliban or otherwise, only by the most incredibly convoluted Bushian logic could you possibly get to the point where you conclude that as a result of that threat we should spend $100 billion a year and send over 100,000 of our young men and women abroad, 8,000 miles away, and that that is an effective way to accomplish that goal. It doesn’t make any sense.

Life does not consist of a Risk board game, where you try to occupy every space on the planet. There’s no other country that does this, there’s no other country that seeks to occupy foreign countries 8,000 miles from their own border, and believe that that somehow accomplishes anything useful. It doesn’t. If in fact it’s important to our national security to keep al-Qaeda or the Taliban under control, there are far more effective ways of accomplishing that goal, if that is in fact the goal, than to expend this kind of money and this kind of blood.

This is something that Democrats said when they were in the opposition repeatedly, and that truth hasn’t changed at all just because we elected a president. You can always find some kind of excuse to do what you want to do anyway, but I have to wonder why a new Democratic president wants to do something like this. This is a president who has recognized the immorality of torture, and I’m waiting for him to recognize the immorality of war and foreign occupation.

You'll forgive me for wondering whether the need to occupy foreign countries springs from a desire to keep America safe, or a desire to pay off giant corporations.

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