I remember the beginning of the war very clearly. Back then I was much more of a lefty than I am now, so I was pretty active in the anti-war protests. I was also living in London at the time. It was strange to be an American in Europe during the build-up to war. Not a lot of love…
I watched the bombing of Baghdad (aka. Shock and Awe) on Al Jazeera while at a hookah bar I use to frequent. It was a pretty surreal experience. I was with a few friends who were also American and we spent the evening smoking strawberry flavored tobacco and watching the night sky over Baghdad light up with explosions. There was a oddly casual sense of, well, that we were fucked.
The odd idea I had to grapple with, and I still grapple with, is that even though I believed the war to be a horrendous decision, it was something that we as Americans bought, and we had to pay for it. Even though I thought it was a terrible idea, I had to hope that it went well. And actually, one of the things that disenchanted me with the left is that I came to believe that many writers and commentators actually didn’t want the war to go well. There seemed to be almost a delight in reporting the escalating death toll, as if each successive death was further justification for their position.
I simply cannot understand why so many on the left and so many libertarians demand an immediate withdrawal. The fact that our troops are dying is a terrible thing, but we made the horrific decision to go to war, we can’t just quit when our stupid decision yields less-than-appealing results.
Yes, yes, I know… The Republicans have been using the same rhetoric: “we can’t cut and run”, “we gotta stay until the job is finished”, etc. They are largely full of shit and always have been. But it doesn’t mean that they are wrong. As much as I hate to say it, I respect McCain’s position on the war more than Hillary’s. Hillary was for the war when it was popular and is against it now that it is unpopular. It is a profoundly cowardly position, the worst kind of opinion-poll-politics. McCain was for it when it was popular and is still against it now that it is very unpopular. Even though I couldn’t have disagreed more with his position, I have a certain respect for it.
What people need to realize is this: we as a country started this war. Bush didn’t start it. He may have lied, been unbelievably deceptive, but come on. It was pretty obvious that he was full of shit. The majority of the country was for the war. The majority of the people who voted, voted to reelect Bush. The war is killing our young people; the war is taking money from schools; the war is ya know, generally fucking up our country? Tough fucking shit America. This is a democracy. When we make a major decision like, say… blowing up a country and killing a bunch of people, there tends to be consequences.
It kills me that Americans and Iraqis are dying. I would much rather have the money and resources used to build our own country. But it would be incredibly hypocritical and destructive of us to renege on our decision to rebuild Iraq, no matter how fucking retarded a decision it was.