August 15, 2005

Shahid’s Strawman No. 8

Carroll Andrew Morse

Sunday’s Projo ran a detailed, 10-point essay accusing “the right wing” (abbreviated in the article as RW) of hypocrisy. My initial impression is that not a single one of the ten points has any serious merit to it. I’ll start with point #8.

In Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo, the Clinton administration called our troop involvement morally imperative. RW leaders opposed all three involvements as devoid of "vital national interest." Now we have the embarrassing spectacle of months passing with our troops able to locate every gold bar in Iraq but no weapons that were supposedly bursting from every closet. Now the moral justification is enough.
First, notable “RW Leaders” did support intervention in Yugoslavia. William Kristol (aka the leader of the neoconservative cabal) supported intervention as vital to the national interest. John McCain and Chuck Hagel introduced a bill into Congress allowing the President wide latitude to use ground troops is Kosovo. Jesse Helms, then chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee (and you can’t get any more RW than Jesse Helms without falling into Pat Buchanan territory) thought that the United States had enough of a national interest in Yugoslavia to sponsor legislation authorizing 100 million dollars in US aid aimed at removing Slobodan Milosevic from power and establishing a democratic regime in his place.

Second, no RWer that I know of has advanced a purely “moral” justification, i.e. a justification devoid of national interest, for intervention in Iraq. President Bush has placed Iraq into a larger strategic framework: topple the most odious regime in a part of the world where democracy is seriously lacking, and it might help to liberalize the entire region. A more liberal Middle East is less likely to serve as an incubator of trans-national instability. Because you do not agree with the strategy does not mean that it does not exist. President Clinton had a hard time gaining support for his interventions because they were not part of any analogous strategic framework.

One down, nine to go…

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I have never heard of commiting the nation to war because of a moral imperative. This sounds like the immans talking. Where was the vital national interest in Haiti? Where was national survival or interest at stake in the Balkans? Call me old fashioned but the cause of "moral imperatives" isn't worth the body of one American grenadier. (to steal from Bismarck).

Posted by: Thomas Jackson at August 18, 2005 1:30 AM

In response to my article, you wrote: Second, no RWer that I know of has advanced a purely “moral” justification, i.e. a justification devoid of national interest, for intervention in Iraq.

"Advanced" is not the right word. Rather many, particularly on the radio, have FALLEN BACK on the moral justification. Sean Hannity is the best example.

I support the war, and I believe it serves our national interest, WMD's or not. I just dont believe in using specious, hypocritical arguments. We should have stuck with the real national interest in the war from the start: You cant logically fight a war on terrorism without first getting rid of your worst enemy (Saddam Hussein).


Posted by: Saleh R Shahid at September 15, 2005 12:32 PM