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Monday, December 05, 2005

The Rising Body-Count

I'm still torn on the war in Iraq between the isolationism and protecting our national interests schools of thought. I don't like the "spreading freedom" rationale. I figure that if the Iraqis want peace, liberty, etc, they need to fight for it on their own. I also am not a huge fan of the preemptive strike, which can be dangerous thinking. However, I would say that Saddam was a threat. There was no doubt that he had WMD's at one time. There is no doubt that he was trying to resurrect his WMD program. How much success he had is not entirely clear. WMD's are very easy to hide, especially when we let a lot of stuff out of the country while we were invading. So I'm not entirely convinced there weren't any there. However, what a lot of conservatives are sick of is reflexive arguments without any coherent analysis on these issues. We can have a debate about how much of a threat Saddam was, whether that necessitated an invasion, whether diplomacy could have worked better, and whether the UN should have had a greater role (though those last two would be especially short arguments). But the knee jerk left too often operates on the principle that everything Bush does must be bad to begin with, that war is always wrong, and that there is no such thing as evil in the world (except for those whom one disagrees with on policy issues). Therefore the arguments against the war become mindless jingles "hey, no, we won't go", and the like. Bush is painted with the broad brush and the paint labeled "Nazi Green", the soldiers are portrayed as hapless and ocassionally evil pawns in a battle over oil, and no substantive debate is heard. That's why conservatives, including myself, are frustrated. The bodycount, as used in an argument, is a purely emotional number (especially when compared to the number in other wars, skirmishes, bad nights in Detroit, etc). But making policy on emotions is a dangerous game, and leads to impulsive and stupid decisions. So I'd like to hear some debate on the issue, certainly. Unfortunately vindictive and vituperative vitriol is what passes for debate these days, and our country and our political process certainly deserve better. (In my Humble Opinion).


I don't think citing the bodycount necessarily means someone is trying to make an emotional appeal. Yes it's often an emotional issue, but isn't it also highly relevant to a realistic assessment of costs and benefits?
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