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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Negative Derb

John Derbyshire is a fantasticly clever conservative, but he is fantasticly short sighted on Iraq.

In his ongoing debate with Rich Lowry he states:

My opinion is that, from the point of view of killing jihadis -- a thing I strongly favor -- Iraq is not that important. It is not even the most jihadi-ridden nation -- Pakistan and Saudi Arabia easily outrank it on that scale. The "flypaper" theory -- that all the jihadis in the world are going to flock to Iraq so we can kill 'em -- is just silly. Ask a Londoner.
The flypaper theory has it's reasoned proponents, Derb. Don't dismiss it out of hand. Disagree, sure. But don't dismiss.

Outside the pale of civilization -- a phrase that, I believe, fairly describes the Muslim Middle East -- things are much more difficult. Sending in 130,000 troops to occupy country X is not a bad idea, I suppose; but then, what do you do about country Y and country Z? See the difficulty?
Again with the demands for short term success! This logic is predicated on a defeatist attitude that states, "Well we can't free every opressed nation at once, so why bother with them one at a time"? We're in this for the long haul. Think big. Dare to dream. Take action and commit to it. The Bush Doctrine is the most drastic departure in foreign policy in a hundred years. A departure necessary to fight the biggest threat facing our civilization. We are fighting for our lives here. The Cold War took how long, again?

He asks Lowry:
So, were you arguing back in 2002 and 2003 that the main reason we ought to invade Iraq was to kill local jihadis more easily? Was that your rationale, or some large compnent of your rationale, for supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom at that time? If it was not -- if, at some point between spring of 2003 and now, you changed your rationale for our presence in Iraq -- how would you go about persuading an impartial observer that your change of rationale was not motivated by blind loyalty to this administration?
And I'll answer for myself. Mistakes have been made, and the plan has changed. Nobody with sense denies that. (Unless they have to deny it in order to avoid giving political ammo to their opponents. I'm not a politician, so I'm free of that constraint.) I believed at the time I crossed the berm into Iraq attached to the Marines of the 1/5 that I was fighting to increase US security, with the added bonus of freeing 25 million Iraqis. Now I believe I was fighting to free the Iraqis, with the added bonus of clearing up questions about WMDs. It's a change in prospective, sure, but not one based on blind loyalty to the Bush administration. It's based upon loyalty to the Iraqi children we freed from Saddam's detention facility in northern Baghdad. It's based on an optimistic belief that we maintain the moral high ground in the fight against terror. I'm younger than you are, Derb. I hope you're still around when this fight ends in about fifty years. May you live long enough to see how a changing plan protects us all. And I mean that warmly and sincerely.

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