I content myself here merely to point out that if a government has any legitimate functions, surely the most central of these is to protect its people from violence inflicted by foreign invaders. If Uncle Sam’s current foreign policies promote such invasions of terrorists (as Pape’s evidence suggests), then Uncle Sam’s first duty – if it truly puts the welfare of Americans first – is to have its garrisons and guns scram from the middle east ASAP.
However, just getting out, and just for the purpose of lowering Americans’ profile as targets of terrorists, is wholly inadequate. Uncle Sam needs a new vision, one that drives toward eliminating bad regimes and spreading freedom and prosperity, not merely undoing previous mistakes.
Robert Wright, Robert Scheer, Frank Zakaria, Leon Hardar and probably many others (tell me, I’ll link to them) have offered such a vision.
Addendum 20050720: My not very clever post title may have confused at least one of the three present commenters, perhaps all three. Withdrawing is not an alternative to invading–not invading is an alternative to invading. My more serious point is that merely advocating not invading, or now withdrawing, is inadequate, however right these positions are. People like Thomas Barnett (probably a really is a “great strategist” relative to the average Pentagon briefer–that’s damning with faint praise–I had the misfortune to read his book and will trash it in a future post) paint a glowing portrait of a world “connected” through U.S. government military force. An adequate response does not merely point out that the means proposed will not accomplish the ends envisioned, but describes how the world can reach a similarly good outcome by other means.