One has to wonder what some politicians are thinking, when one considers the following exchange (via MSNBC):
It wasnt so easy for Obama to avoid the firebombs from the two peaceniks on stage. Kucinich upbraided his rival for talking tough about the use of force against Iran. I think that it’s important for people to reflect on the real meaning of that, that you’re setting the stage for another war, Kucinich said.
Obama replied that it would be a profound mistake for us to initiate a war with Iran. But that wasnt enough for the former Alaska senator Mike Gravel. Who the hell are we going to nuke, he cried out. Tell me, Barack. Barack, who do you want to nuke? The Illinois senator, who has placed his opposition to the war at the heart of his campaign, could only smile. I’m not planning to nuke anybody right now, Mike, I promise.
One of my major reasons for opposing the war in Iraq is that it ties large numbers of troops in occupation duty, troops that might be needed in place like, well . . . Iran. And I find it profoundly troubling that some people find a way to portray Barack Obama as trigger-happy. I’m afraid his record supports nothing of the sort.
I also must confess that I certainly hope we will not end up at war with Iran, but being ready for such a war is critical, considering that unlike Iraq, Iran actually is developing nuclear weapons. There’s a tremendous potential for danger there.
I’d like to add one note here on withdrawal. One of the problems one encounters on opposing Republicans in this country seems to be that one has to ally oneself with Democrats. Neither party seems to be able to do all that well wielding power. It is very hard for the party that does not hold the executive power to manage military activities. I am totally in support of congressional oversight. I believe congress should be involved, but conducting a war in Iraq by means of a war in Washington is unlikely to produce good results.
In addition, those who are looking for withdrawal now should consider the long term. When we invaded Iraq, I believed the long term outlook was bad. There would come a time when we would be facing continuing casualties and the American people would tire of the war. I’d be willing to stand up to popular opinion on that on one condition–that the war was actually ever going to be finished. I don’t believe it will. Now people are speaking of withdrawal as though it is going to produce peace. There was no peace there before we invade, and there’s going to be even less peace left behind if we withdraw. Should opponents of the war succeed in forcing a withdrawal, especially one based on a timetable rather than a restatement of obtainable objectives, then you can expect that the news will be filled with stories of people dying because we withdrew.
I think the war was sold to the American people on the basis of unreasonably happy expectations. To some extent withdrawal is being sold on the same basis. Iraq’s natural state is not peaceful–it never has been. Peace, joy, and brotherhood will not be the result of our withdrawal. This will also not be the last time that force may be used. Hopefully the next time it will be used in a precise and well-planned way. Probably not, but I can always hope.