DEITZ: Our moral obligation



Ian Deitz

It is Americans’ moral and patriotic duty to end the epic failure of statecraft that is the war in Iraq. President Bush’s decision last week to halt troop withdrawal is a dereliction of stewardship that can only be atoned by the election of the Democratic nominee this November.

The huge chasm separating McCain from the Democrats on the war cannot possibly be bridged by any other issue. That, I submit, is why Americans must vote against McCain this November: solely for the purpose of preventing his vision for Iraq from being carried out.

The same reasons for not initiating the war dictate our present need to withdraw. Terrorism is not fought with large-scale standing armies and invasions. It is a subnational phenomenon best averted through targeted covert operations. Furthermore, its Islamic variants flourish where American domination is most salient. To quote the CIA, the war in Iraq is the “cause célèbre” for international terrorists. In short, the war is poor statecraft because it is founded upon mistaken assumptions that belie established counterterrorism strategies.

Moreover, the conservative argument that the terrorists will follow us home if we leave Iraq contradicts the obvious truth that our presence in the Middle East is what motivates their desire to attack us in the first place. This has been the case since the establishment of Israel.

And even if it is true that our withdrawal will give them confidence, the consequences of further occupation are even worse. Withdrawal is now a matter of cutting our losses.

Conservatives may also point to the fact that we have not been attacked on our own soil again since 9/11. Well, in case they’re unaware, there was a 10-year period before 9/11 during which we also did not get attacked.

The only viable solution is to withdraw as soon as possible and leave the existing Iraqi government to self-determination. That this may result in a civil war is a reflection of the unfortunate fact that we must face the consequences of our actions. In the end, the notion that wars of engineered democracy can succeed if given the time is patently foolish. At best, outside actors – preferably the United Nations or NATO – can act as a sort of arbitrator, rather than a director.

Any claim that the war in Iraq was a good idea that simply was executed improperly is a cop-out designed to excuse the folly of not recognizing that the idea was flawed in the first place.

The statistics plainly demonstrate the need to withdraw: $500 trillion and 80,000. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out what those two numbers refer to.

They are the eye sores of McCain’s proposed foreign policy. Continuation of the war in Iraq is the height of irresponsibility and makes a mockery of American leadership. I’ll take either Obama or Clinton – but definitely not McCain.


Ian Deitz is a senior political science major from Gettysburg, Pa. He can be reached at [email protected].