Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I disagree with the LP

Among those that initially opposed, and continue to criticize the invasion of Iraq, is the Libertarian Party. The LP’s latest public offering is a formal proposal that calls for the complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, incrementally over the course of one year, in a position paper entitled: Iraq Exit Strategy (pdf). The argument rests on a few premises, the first of which being the nature of the enemy.
[The] so-called “insurgents” are primarily Iraqis who have taken up arms against the occupying forces in order to protect themselves and reclaim their nation. Evidence shows that the continuing American military presence is, in fact, fueling the continued resistance by Iraqi citizens.


…"insurgents" are newly radicalized Iraqi Sunnis — not remnants of the Ba'ath party.

[and finally]

While it is now evident that al-Qaeda members and other foreign terrorists have moved onto Iraqi soil since the invasion, they represent only a small portion of the insurgency and could be dealt with quickly by a competent Iraqi security force.
At this point in the war, the primary targets of the car-bombs and sucker-punches are Iraqi officials and their police forces, with Iraqi civilians increasingly falling victim to those cowardly thugs. As tragic as the situation is, an even bloodier civil war, contrary to the predictions of many, has not materialized; I would argue that this is due in large part to the US presence. Furthermore, Iraq is no longer a prospective safe haven for al Qaeda.

Another reason for withdrawal, according to the LP, is that this venture has become “unpopular”.
The U.S. military occupation is becoming increasingly unpopular with Iraqis. A recent Zogby opinion poll in Iraq found that 82 percent of Sunnis and 69 percent of Shiites were in favor of the withdrawal of American and coalition forces "either immediately or after an elected government is in place."

While it is too late for U.S. troops to be withdrawn "immediately," elections for the
new Iraqi government have been accomplished, fulfilling the other condition. Polls both in Iraq and in the United States have demonstrated that a majority of citizens in each country want American troops to be pulled out of Iraq.
This just seems silly on its face. Notwithstanding the fact opinion polls are consulted for virtually every political decision these days, matters of war and strategy ought not to be determined by the subjective emotions of “the majority”. The citation of polls by the LP is likely an indication of its anti-war bias, rather than a genuine confidence in a given plurality. Although, it can’t hurt that the “will of the people” coincides with the LP platform, unless of course one favors the rule of law…as I do.

Finally, in an attempt to portray this plan as reasonable, the author employs a bit of Americanese:
With the continued loss of American life, the decline in troop morale, the ongoing expenditure of American taxpayers’ money, and with the declining acceptance of the American presence by Iraqis, it has become necessary to develop a sensible plan for troop withdrawal.
Let’s look at these one at a time. First, the loss of life is part and parcel of any war. Moreover, just over 1700 casualties in two years is remarkably low, relatively speaking. And when the Iraqi political progress is factored in, the cost/benefit analysis ain’t bad. Next, I sincerely doubt that the cost of the current conflict is “exorbitant”, as compared to WWII or the ‘War between the States’. Lastly, the degree of “declining acceptance” by rank and file Iraqis is a matter of debate and frankly, irrelevant. In my view, the "liberation of Iraq" was and is ancillary to the eradication of a potential home-base of operations for terrorists that plot to kill American civilians. As a bonus, the installment of an interim Iraqi government via free elections, along with the current debate about the particulars of a new constitution, lends credence to the military endeavor.

Now, I’m not a “warmonger” by any stretch, but I’m no pacifist either. So, even though I support the current war, I don't advocate “spreading democracy” by the sword. Beside the fact that democracy (rule of man) is problematic, the attainment and protection of Liberty is the responsibility of the individuals that desire it, rather than an ideal that must be imposed upon an unwilling populous. I happen to think that, over time, Iraqis will see the value of political freedom and it just might become engrained within their culture. Regardless, the US military is there to protect the hard won Liberty of Americans from those that seek our destruction. An early withdrawal would be ill-advised, to say the least.

Hat Tip: Tom Knapp, who takes the anti-war position, which is obviously inferior.