Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Progressive Case for US involvement in Iraq

Many liberals and now many conservatives have used the 3rd anniversary of the Iraq war to renew their attacks against US involvement in Iraq. My position three years ago was insufficient information to pass judgment (I tend to have a high bar) and thus willing to defer to those with more information. Someone asked me today how my opinion has changed. It hasn't.

West Wing (excellent show) has just had Jed Bartlett sending a comparable number of US troops to an oil rich central Asian country to avert a civil war. It seems this is a typical left wing progressive position: US troops should be used to stand between combatants in potential civil wars, Sudan, Bosnia, Rwanda, Nigeria, i.e. nation building. It seems that a large part of the attacks in Iraq are between Iraqis. Shouldn't the US be there to minimize the damage? Yes, there are other problems we are ignoring, but isn't something better than nothing?

Note that this is totally independent of the US invading in the first place. Even if you disagree about that, what's that have to do with pulling out today. And there are strong progressive reasons for invasion as well. The people of Iraq clearly wanted to be free of Sadaam Hussein's rule. Every opinion poll shows they are still overwhelmingly happy to be rid of him. Isn't inaction in helping kick out a dictator the same as action in propping up a dictator (a standard left wing indictment of US foreign policy) [And yes, those classical liberals/libertarians especially make a big difference between action and negative inaction, but economists and progressives tend not to care] {And of course I always thought there are good reasons sometimes to support dictators, it's just interesting now that there are so many progressives out there that wish we had.}
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