Friday, September 23, 2005

SHOULD WE STAY OR SHOULD WE GO? Liberal bloggers overwhelmingly agree that invading Iraq was totally wrong and unnecessary and that Bush's preemptive decision to do so has had exactly the disastrous consequences we all knew it would have.

The difficult ethical dilemma that thoughtful progressives have to struggle with is, Now that the U.S. invasion and occupation have led to a bloody and incredibly lethal insurgency that has brought Iraq to the edge of civil war, should the U.S. keep a military presence in Iraq, or should we pull out?

The answer to this dilemma hinges on two other equally difficult questions: Is the U.S. presence in Iraq bringing that country closer to all-out civil war; or is the U.S. presence preventing an all-out civil war? And what is the essential difference between all-out civil war and what's going on in Iraq now?

It should be obvious that this debate has nothing to do with what the Bush administration's decisions are likely to be. This is a moral question we have to grapple with among ourselves, in order to figure out what it is that we should be supporting, regardless of what Bush does.

Prof. Cole wrote a post a month ago about why he thinks "U.S. troops out of Iraq now!" is simplistic and misguided. Today he has another one, responding to a piece by Michael Schwartz that calls for the U.S. to leave Iraq.

Both Cole and Schwartz make cogent arguments. This is not an easy question to answer. I am torn, and likely to remain so.

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