Debating the Larger War

Apr 10, 2003

The other day John Scalzi used his Whatever column to ask his readers what is happening over there in Iraq. More specifically, he asks is it a war and muses that Iraq could be only a single campaign in a larger war.

If this is the case, he wants to know why the current administration doesn’t tell us more about it. Is it being patronizing? Does it really know what it is doing? This led me to chime in.

I believe there could be another, more directed, reason for all the smoke and mirrors of this wider campaign: military strategy. As you mention, Iran and Syria certainly have an inkling that they are next. Astute, and even not-so astute, observers of US politics have drawn the same conclusion. A public display of The List would solidify those fears, and hatch new enemies and political nightmares along with it.

Not only is it easier to convince the world and the citizens of the US to fight one evil at a time, it’s a much better alternative than having to fight them all at once.

His response, of which only an excerpt is provided below, makes a very good point.

But I personally wonder at what point does our citizenry’s right to question and understand the motives and actions of its government supercede the government’s need for clandestine action.

Certainly the citizenry’s ability to debate what may or may not be next is something our government and constitution hold in high regard. It’s something we undoubtedly want but when can we be allowed do this? When should we be privy to the plans of our government?

In times of war, I don’t know if the answer is as obvious as I wish it was. I want to know it all. I’d like the scholars to chime in with their opinions so I can better form my own. What I don’t want is Syria to realize that they will be served for dessert.

Further complicating matters, the current administration hasn’t really had the chance or inclination to debate its current position and plans. Some of reason is timing; we didn’t schedule Sept. 11. Some of it was the necessity of swift action. Much of it, I fear, is that when the voting booth seems so very far away, well, what’s the rush?

I should note that, to this point, I don’t believe I have a whole lot to complain about. Whatever your qualms about the politics behind our current situation, the military actions of our government seem just, even logical. We knew Iraq was on the hot seat. We had plenty of advanced notice. It’s just that there’s something about having the choice to pull that lever that gives me a warm fuzzy.

The mystery of our future may lead to a type of preminition politics. If I were a protester today, I’d get my ass up off the street and start preparing my views on the possible wars of tomorrow. Your chance to debate the war on Iraq is long past. Don’t want us heading to Iran? Fine, but your time to speak of it is now, not if or when the Bush adminstration points out their evils. Want to call the adminstration on their actions? You better get one step ahead.

Depending on your state of agreement with the current administration, this might sound like a harrowing proposition. Deal with it. It will be a while before the next election day. By then, I have a feeling we won’t be discussing Iraq. We’ll be discussing the economy.

by | Categories: politics |

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