Adding on to what I said earlier about Iraq, it might help to repost this entry from a few years ago:
A Pacifist’s War Principles
- I hate war.
- War is rarely justified.
- When justified, it must be undertaken.
- When undertaken, it is a necessary evil.
- Because it’s a necessary evil, only victory will suffice.
- Victory is measured by permanently stopping the instigators.
- Stopping the instigators must be viewed through the eyes of justice.
- The eyes of justice do not seek vengeance.
- Vengeance creates mistakes.
- Mistakes transform victory into failure.
- Failure is unacceptable.
It’s a bit cutesy, I admit, but I think it sums up what I believe about war. It should be a last resort, but once undertaken, it must be won. The current administration failed and continues to fail at so many items on this list – 2, 5, 6, maybe 7, 10, 11 – that it must be held accountable. It must be forced to adopt a strategy other than stay the course because we’re losing.
To share the blame, I clearly failed at my second criteria. Again, that was mostly my ignorance of politics and history. I hope I’ll be less likely to make that mistake in the future. I know I’ll doubt more often, which is key to better government.
As for strategy for winning in Iraq, I don’t have one. Neither does the Bush administration. It must develop one, if victory in Iraq is still possible. I’m skeptical that it is still winnable, despite believing for a long time that we couldn’t abandon Iraq, no matter how public sentiment viewed the war. We created it, we must fix it. But now I fear we must leave. That isn’t a “give me a timetable” requirement, just a sense that we must finally begin diplomacy.
Whatever path we take coming out of today’s election, Iraq and its people will suffer. That is our fault, and we will carry the shame. President Bush must bear responsibility for that, even if it’s only the judgment of history. As citizens we must resist the inevitable push for war that will arise in the future to eliminate the defeat of Iraq from our psyche. We must not create new mistakes to pretend past mistakes never happened. Vigilance is our duty.