I want to go on record, explicitly and uequivocably, that I am against the current war in Iraq. I believe it was the wrong thing to do for a number of reasons.
I figure this is one of those posts that’ll be so long no one will read it. But it will be out there for me to read. It will keep me honest. If the war goes badly from here on out, I’ll be able to know that my views are not just an opportunistic chiming-in with the opposition. And if it goes exceedingly well, I’ll maybe have to admit I was wrong. Maybe.
Just like those thoughtful people who support the war start their explanations with words like, “Well, nobody likes war, but…”, I want to start with a disclaimer too:
I hope our troops kick ass. I’m rooting for them with every newscast I see. I am resigned to the fact that the only way out of this is to get through it. So I want our troops to achieve their objectives quickly. I want them all to live. I want all the Iraqi citizens to live. I want to see humanitarian aid going to the people of Iraq. And I want each soldier over there to experience the satisfaction of seeing the regular Iraqi citizens reveling in their freedom in a Sadaam-free Baath-free Iraq. When they get through this thing, that’ll be the least they deserve. I still hold out some hope for this scenario. I pray for it.
That said, the end does not justify the means. That the current leaders of our Administration have chosen the wrong means does not mean that I cannot hope for a good end anyway. I am opposed to the war, and to the administration’s vision for America’s role in the world, but I support the troops.
Yeah, that’s not black and white. To insist on black and white is intellectually lazy. To say that if one does not support the war one is “against the troops” is not just intellectually lazy, it’s dishonest and mean-spirited. If you’ve used that argument in the past, shame on you. It reminds me of how the pro-choice side of the abortion issue labels their opponents “anti-choice” instead of pro-life, and how, likewise, the pro-life side labels the pro-choice side as “pro-abortion”. The Orwellian partitioning of the world into “Us” versus “Them” is the root of all evil. If you condone that kind of thinking, you are part of the problem we are supposed to be fighting.
Which is my first beef with the Administration. It’s been “You’re either with us or against us.” since 9/11. I know the president is a devout Christian. Why then are the key teachings of Jesus Christ — you know, the beatitudes, etc. — not evident in his rhetoric? Indeed, Jesus’ words are inconvenient, and probably a little embarrassing, if you are a Christian who supports the war. Fundamentalists who believe the Bible is the literal word of God have to dabble in a little relativism themselves when it comes to justifying war.
Yeah, I know about my Church’s Just War teaching. This war fails that test. The burden of proof is on the side of those who want war. Peace always gets the tie.
Administration has unilaterally set a global agenda without consulting the people it represents in any meaningful way. I’ve written before that I think we’re seeing the start of a global crusade. It’s like we’ve dusted off Manifest Destiny to give it another go, this time on a global scale. Fortunes of nations wane and ebb, but empires *always* fall. I want us to be a country, not an empire. But nobody asked me, did they? Did anyone ask you?
Speaking of asking, whatever happened to the good old Declaration of War? Remember the Constitution? More inconvenient words there too, I guess. Billions of dollars and thousands of lives at risk in a far away land without so much as one representative vote of approval. Well, except afterwards in a tepid show of support for a foregone conclusion.
Since 9/11 we’ve seen an erosion of the personal freedoms guaranteed in our Bill of Rights in an effort to fight terrorism at home. No news there. Well, forget the amendments now, this war goes straight for the body of the constitution by eroding the checks and balances and separation of powers that makes our government work.
The executive branch needs to be put back in its place. It needs to be made to ask permission like the founding fathers intended. The Administration made it very clear that it didn’t need to ask permission. Three branches of government, different but equal power, all keeping each other in check, remember? Now we have a runaway executive branch that claims for itself more power at every turn. With a Congress that gets weaker and more irrelevant in response.
It is ironic that, as we send our young people off to make “Them” more like “Us” we are becoming more like “Them” to accomplish it. As we crusade off to forcibly export Democracy to the rogue dictatorships of the world, it concerns me that there might not be enough left here at home to sustain our country, much less the whole planet.
And so I consider my opposition every bit as patriotic as your support. I am a Constitutional conservative. I want the kind of government they taught us about in fifth grade. Heck, I’ll settle for what we had back in 1998.
And while I don’t want this current war, I want our troops to win it decisively and quickly.
Ultimately, I guess, it’s the next war I am protesting. It’s coming, you know. Study your maps of North Korea…
(If you’ve made it this far you are either really bored, know me in real life, or are from the NSA, FBI, or CIA. All are welcome. Howdy!
Oh, and if you are CIA, I think the White House should listen to you more. I’m just sayin’.)