Posted by Brad @ 10:13 am on June 16th 2014

Quote of the Day

On taking military action to help shore up the Makali government in Iraq in the face of an increasingly genocidal ISIS threatening to take over or rend the country apart.

“You’d be fighting for a dysfunctional, unrepresentative, authoritarian government. There’s no reason on earth that I know of that we would ever sacrifice a single American life for that.”

Hillary Clinton

1 Comment »

  1. Some comment:

    It’s strange to me how far the conventional wisdom on Iraq and the Middle East has changed in ten years. What struck me about that quote is how thoroughly it essentially drops every justification for involvement in Iraq in the first place – involvement supported by Ms. Clinton and basically every mainstream voice in America – down the memory hole. Potential for spread or use of weapons of mass destruction, stability and potential democratization in the Middle East, protection of human rights against unrepresentative, authoritarian governments, curtailing the spread of Islamic militantism, preventing potential safe havens or alliance partners for terrorist groups, credibility of international authority, you name it. It is not just that these things are being dismissed – they are not even being brought up TO be dismissed in the present context. Again, it’s not even a matter of “we used to think X, we now know better and think Y”. It is a complete amnesia to X.

    Which, great – I never liked X to begin with. But I suppose what’s throwing me is that X – all those things I mentioned – were never even about efficacy or practicality. These were cast and spoken about as core American – nay, human – values. They were spoken of in terms of moral imperatives REGARDLESS of their practical efficacy.

    And now, Ms. Clinton is casting it, again, almost not even a matter of practical efficacy, but as an opposite moral imperative. Even if one single American life would rectify the whole situation, her implication is, we still shouldn’t do it on principle. And, it must be noted, that the present situation is almost inarguably much, much worse than the one we sought to intervene in in 2003, in terms of its threats to those core values I spoke of.

    I dunno, there is a “We have always been at war with Eurasia” aspect to it that really creeps me out. And, again, the situation in the Middle East is now far, FAR more dire than it was when we committed to rectify it in the first place.

    And there is another aspect of that quote, and conventional wisdom at large, that bugs me. If you had said that exact same thing at any point in 2003-2009, you would have been accused of basically slapping our brave soldiers in the face and telling them they were dying for nothing. And yet, that is now not only a grandfathered in line of thinking, but it’s totally become an unexamined premise. If there is no reason on earth a single American life would be worth losing to intervening in Iraq NOW, to my ears that’s basically vigorously arguing that the 4500 American lives lost so far were, indeed, lost for no good reason (to say nothing of all the other costs). There isn’t even a hint of mitigation on that point any longer (I would have been very interested in a followup to Ms. Clinton on that point, just to see how she’d skate around it).

    I am, of course, hugely in favor of learning from our mistakes (or, ideally, not making them in the first place). But I find myself, even, a bit weirded out not only by the cognitive dissonance, but just the sheer callousness of it at the present time.

    Comment by Brad — 6/16/2014 @ 1:04 pm

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