09 September 2008


Last Sunday (31 August, although it might have been a repeat of an earlier show), while on a long drive, I heard Bill O'Reilly, on his radio show, say unequivocally that Sen. Barack Obama was right to have been against the Iraq War from the beginning. I was quite shocked! O'Reilly said that the war was the wrong war at the wrong place and time and should never have been started. Finally, someone (although surely there are others, perhaps hidden) on the Right admits that the Iraq War was misguided. Whether the reason was a mistaken attempt to implant democracy in a Middle East country or whether it was simply to place Iraq's oil exports in the hands of Western oil corporations, there was no hope of avoiding a bloodbath and destabilization in a fractious and sensitive area that contains three main antagonistic factions who were held precariously together by the terror of Saddam Hussein and the Baathist Party.

Then, O'Reilly, in a bit of convoluted reasoning, criticized Sen. Obama for voting against the Surge, by saying Obama's call for early troop withdrawal (which the U.S. and Iraq administrations are now for) would not have been possible without the Surge! So, O'Reilly maintains it was right to be against the whole war effort from the beginning, but it should have been supported at the point of the Surge--about which, by the way, I'm not sure the ensuing diminution of violence is permanent. And, besides, the local warlords/tribal chiefs in Anbar Province, who the U.S. pays to fight, were already turning against Al-Qaeda-Mesopotamia. Please recall that there were no Al-Qaeda insurgents in Iraq until a power vacuum was created when the U.S. took out Saddam and the Baathists and the Iraqi military. The U.S. created the situation it now finds itself in.

I thought this an interesting bit of current events to hear O'Reilly's position. I also think there are plenty of other people on the Right who are appalled at the conduct of the war. Not least are they concerned that the U.S. military has been weakened for combat in other strategic areas, such as Afghanistan, where a resurgent Neo-Taliban is seriously threatening the viability of that country. If there were any war in which the U.S. must engage, it would be in Afghanistan, because unlike the trillion-dollar war in Iraq, the U.S. would be fighting to stabilize, not destabiliize, two countries--Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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