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December 5, 2004 - Ah, there are always two sides...

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One Side


Saving the Iraqi Children

Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times, November 27, 2004


Iraqis are paying a horrendous price for the good intentions of well-meaning conservatives who wanted to liberate them. And now some well-meaning American liberals are seeking a troop withdrawal that would make matters even worse.


Heaven protect Iraq from well-meaning Americans.


Lately, I've been quiet about the war because it's easy to rail about the administration's foolishness last year but a lot harder to offer constructive suggestions for what we should do now. President Bush's policy on Iraq has migrated from delusional - we would be welcomed with flowers, we should disband the Iraqi army, security is fine, the big problem is exaggerations by nervous Nellie correspondents - to reasonable today. These days, the biggest risk may come from the small but growing contingent on the left that wants to bring our troops home now.


… our mistaken invasion has left millions of Iraqis desperately vulnerable, and it would be inhumane to abandon them now. If we stay in Iraq, there is still some hope that Iraqis will come to enjoy security and better lives, but if we pull out we will be condemning Iraqis to anarchy, terrorism and starvation, costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of children over the next decade.


Those hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, whose lives we placed at risk by invading their country, are the reasons we should remain in Iraq, until we can hand over security to a local force. Saving hundreds of thousands of lives is a worthy cause to risk American lives for, even to die for.


Okay.  We stay.  And we liberals should feel really, really guilty.



The Other Side


Eric Alterman -


The Problem in Iraq is… liberals.  (Just ask a “liberal”)

"These days, the biggest risk may come from the small but growing contingent on the left that wants to bring our troops home now."  Is Nicholas Kristof insane?  The problem with Iraq is the left?  Excuse me.  Right-wingers created this insane mess.  They control all three branches of government and are determined to make everything worse, having admitted no mistakes and thrown out the people who tried to warn them of their delusions.  And Kristof thinks the “biggest risk” comes from liberals?  Just what is it he thinks we are going to do to upset this brilliant war effort?  Write a really nasty folk-song?  (Who would play it?) ….


Rick, the News Guy, in Atlanta –


I agree with Kristof that leaving Iraq without self-government would be a mistake, even though I really don't see much evidence right now that this is about to happen.  I have heard some liberals demanding this, and I just disagree with them on that.


We shouldn't have made this mess in the first place, but we do have a responsibility to clean up after ourselves, even if there are large groups of Iraqis (and not just insurgents) who'd rather we didn't.  If they really don't want us hanging around, they should do all they can to help us get a new government up and running so we can leave.


I think I agree with Alterman on the general issue of liberals' seemingly needing to criticize other liberals all the time; don't you just wish conservatives suffered from that compulsion more often?


Still, I'm not sure where he stands on the question of pulling troops out of Iraq, which was Kristof's main point.  From what Alterman wrote here, it sounds like he doesn't understand what Kristof was saying.


I guess that’s the middle ground.



Dick in Rochester -


We went into this as a totally lose-lose situation.  How can the result be other than what it is?


And that must be the other middle ground.



Hollywood –


We are where we are.  No matter who is to blame, we have to make the best of it we can.  And there are no easy answers.  We can’t leave and we shouldn’t stay.  So now what?



Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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