INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Thursday, August 08, 2002

Like A Feather In the Wind

Guess I have to blog Shelley Powers on Iraq one more time before I can get away from the subject for a while.

My critics will say I have no conviction--that I'm as spineless as a feather in the wind. My supporters will say I have an open mind. The simple truth is that I haven't figured out where I come down on this issue. Lately, I've been teetering ever closer to saying, "OK, Georgie, if you can make the case and get the U.N. in your corner, then go ahead and rid us of the Bully of Baghdad." But I haven't stepped over that line as yet.

Today, Shelley, aka Burningbird, makes the best case I've read yet for staying out. What I like about her piece is that it's blessedly free of the peace-at-any-price line--and of the kvetching and whining that disallows the proposition that anybody in Washington might actually be trying, with great difficulty, to be doing the right thing.

She makes a strong argument based on the rule of law--not on sentimentality--and I must say, I'm swayed by her words. Then, a couple of hours later, on the tube, along come two of the leading members of the Iraqi Opposition-In-Exile, saying that U.S, intervention will lead to a joyous overthrow of the dictatorship and the implementation of a free and pluralistic, democratic society--and I'm saying to myself, "Man, what if these guys are right? It would be worth the cost. It would be the greatest American foreign policy achievement since the restoration of a democratic Germany and Japan."

As I said in my post yesterday, it's really important that this kind of conversation is going on because I have no doubt there are a lot of floating feathers like myself out there. We need to be informed.

By the time the conversation on Vietnam got to this level, it was way too late. The boys were already coming home in boxes, and the villages were already being burned to the ground in the name of saving the inhabitants from Uncle Ho. Let us never again be done in by that level of misinformation and unquestioned assumptions. Let us never again get to that point before the debate begins.


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