Thursday, April 10, 2008

Eliminate The Middleman


Eliminate The Middleman

One thing became painfully obvious watching this week's House / Senate hearings on the Iraq occupation, the wrong people were being questioned. Instead of General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker it should have been President George W. Bush, V.P. Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in front of the legislative committees. Make no mistake about it, any military personal that have opposed either going in or staying in Iraq are gone. Whatever his feelings about Iraq, Petraeus is the wrong guy to ask about the larger questions surrounding the Iraq mess namely, what are we going to do now? In the USA, the military reports to the civilian government they are given a job and they follow orders. Petraeus makes the tactical decisions concerning the occupation; the overall strategy is put together at the Pentagon and the White House.

While we agonize over the tactics and mistakes made in Iraq, our attention is diverted from the larger question: Why are we there? What were the reasons to trade 4000 American lives, hundreds of billions of dollars and the American reputation of rule of law for the preemptive invasion of Iraq? These are the central questions that have never been answered. Iraq played no role in 9/11, Iraq was an enemy of Al Qaeda, Iraq was not a military threat to the United States or it's neighbors and Bush and Cheney knew it before the invasion.

Why are we in Iraq? Is staying in Iraq all about defending Republican ideology, decisions and policy no matter that the reasons given for a preemptive strike all turned out to be non-existent? "Are the Republicans so invested in the original decision to invade Iraq that they won't even consider whether the United States would be better off winding down this commitment, relieving our military of the war's enormous burdens and redirecting our foreign policy. (E.J. Dionne The Road to Nowhere)"

Let's start asking the tough questions, but more importantly, lets make sure we are asking the right questions to the right people.