Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Concerning Iraq Rhetoric

I still have not figured out where I stand on the whole war issue. But, I have figured this much out: just as pulling out is not an effective method of contraception, it is not an effective military strategy either.

I'm sorry. That was shameful.

But in all seriousness, I do not support an immediate withdrawal of the troops. However, my refusal to support such a plan does not, by any means, echo the sentiments of our president. He (among other Republicans) consistently notes that announcing a timetable for withdrawal would basically tell the enemy when we are going to leave, as if "the enemy" (whatever that means) were waiting in the wings. It sure seems to me like our enemies in Iraq aren't waiting for anything. Also, it implies that a stealthy withdrawal is possible. In other words, he implies that pulling out could possibly be effective at some point so long as we don't announce it before hand.

As if "the enemy" wouldn't notice that we had left.

Of course, I'm sure he doesn't mean to imply this, but it is a necessary implication of his rhetoric. If announcing a timetable is inherently bad, that implies that an unannounced timetable could work, which seems absurd to me. I'm sure our astute readers will point out that Bush has rejected the notion of a timetable for withdrawal in and of itself. So, it is doubtful that Bush would support an unannounced timetable. And that's fine by me. I just wish he would put forward good arguments, and I think that there are plenty to be made against pulling out. However, the whole "aiding the enemy" argument is nothing more than hollow rhetoric, and it weakens the other arguments by shifting the focus away from policy and toward some vague notion of "patriotism." After all, in addition to the "Democrats want to aid the enemy" argument, we've heard that a withdrawal will make it such that all the deceased troops will have died in vain.

This is not about patriotism. It is about policy. And for once our shining star of a president is right: an immediate withdrawal is a terrible idea. But not for the reasons he has been stating. I realize that politics is always about rhetoric, but when it comes to war, I have a feeling that a frank discussion of the consequences of any policy proposal will get us farther than wrapping ourselves in the flag. And as always, this applies to both parties.

But hey, that's politics, eh?

No comments: