August 23, 2006

I was driving, so most of my critical thinking brain cells were not paying attention to the radio, but I did catch most of KUOW's interview with Noah Feldman, author of What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building. How refreshing to hear someone speaking rationally on the topic, weighing in somewhere between "Stay the Course!" and "Bring the Troops Home Now!"

His logic: No matter what flawed logic got us there, the US has more or less completely dismantled Iraq and, having made a mess, it's our responsibility to clean up after ourselves. We owe the people of Iraq an apology and a functioning government. What's more, Mr. Feldman has ideas on how to get there: change our "nation building" policy to one that doesn't automatically hand out contracts to US companies. (He's got a point there: if our point in invading Iraq was to liberate the Iraqi people, then what's with all the money going to US companies? How does that help the Iraqi people?)

I've never been in favor of this particularly misguided example of foreign policy. But there's something about the angry agitation for complete and immediate withdrawal that doesn't sit right either. It's kind of like making a really big mess in your friend's house and then saying, not my problem. It may be your friend's house, but you'd be low-life, short-term friend for behaving that way, and eventually everyone would move and not leave a forwarding address just to get rid of you.

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