Thursday, October 30, 2008

Threats and overreactions

Brink Lindsey finds Obama the "clearly superior alternative" in foreign policy. Why?
Iraq today is a complicated mess, and how best to extricate ourselves is a tough problem. I don't know how well Barack Obama would handle that problem, but at least he sees it clearly: His goal is to get us out of there. John McCain's goal, on the other hand, is to keep us there as long as possible. That fundamental difference is reason enough in my mind to root for Obama.

Me: First of all, McCain's spoken about getting most troops out by 2013, which is not "as long as possible." Secondly, how clearly did Obama see Iraq when he opposed the surge, which he much later acknowledged worked much better than anyone (meaning he) had dreamed? Did he see clearly the genocide that may well have occurred there following a fast U.S. pullout?

More from Lindsey:

The Iraq fiasco was just one consequence of a deeper misjudgment: a panicky overreaction to 9/11 that inflated the real and serious threat of terrorism into an apocalyptic fantasy of World War IV. Delusions of "existential" danger lay behind the Bush administration's resort to torture and its mad claims of absolute executive power as well as its blundering botch job in Iraq. I myself suffered from such delusions in the first years after 9/11, but the accumulation of countervailing evidence eventually freed me from them. Bush, of course, has proved incurable. And McCain's case of 1938-itis is, if possible, even worse.
Me: There's some truth to that. The Iraq War likely would not have happened if there had been no 9/11, and rhetoric along the lines of "World War IV" does seem overblown. But isn't there a danger now of overreacting to the Iraq War, by downplaying threats from hostile nations and terrorist groups, and wouldn't such insularity set a tone of weakness that would make future wars more likely? And if McCain is such a warmonger ("1938-itis"), please explain that part where he led the renormalization of relations with the nation where he was tortured.

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