Withdrawing not an alternative to invading

I endorse Don Boudreaux’s recommedation of columns by John Tierney and Robert Pape and Boudreux’s conclusion:

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.

5 Responses

  1. Daniel Slate says:

    Agreed. Leaving at this moment would not be satisfactory, as it would leave a power vacuum in Iraq that would almsot certainly lead to civil war. Instability does not equate with success.

    We do need to get out of the Middle East. But not until we’ve finished the job in Iraq and the Iraqis can be left to handle their own affairs.

  2. Another great security strategist is Thomas PM Barnett – last year wrote the book “The Pentagon’s new Map” and has one of the best blogs in this sort of analysis at http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/

    Barnett advocates the creation of a winning the peace force, as well as a role in the world to source security.

    Other world class strategists are (sans blogs) Bernard Lewis and Raymond Tanter.

  3. Somaliland seems to do okay with a power vacuum.

  4. Enough dead

    Thomas Knapp writes:
    1,827 … and counting. Enough said.
    I shouldn’t pick on Knapp, whose heart is mostly in the right place (and he’s a linkmonger, so he probably won’t mind), but…
    The sentiment above, that the number …

  5. […] A better way? See Wright, Scheer, Zakaria, Hardar, Tierney, and Pape. […]

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