Why I am no longer a Republican

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AK Forty Seven, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. http://news.yahoo.com/why-am-no-longer-republican-062500099.html

    Why I am no longer a Republican

    By Damon Linker | The Week

    It has a lot to do with the Iraq war

    This week has been filled with Iraq War recriminations and re-evaluations. While official Washington was strangely silent about the 10th anniversary of the start of the conflict, journalists and intellectuals have been (predictably) more vocal. Prominent neocons have reaffirmed, with minor caveats, their support for the war. Some (erstwhile) liberal hawks have issued full-throated mea culpas. Other liberals, meanwhile, have tried to have it both ways, denouncing the war they once supported while praising its outcome. And of course, lots of people who opposed the war from the beginning, on the right and left, have declared vindication.

    My own position on the war fits into none of these categories. Ten years ago, I was working as an editor at First Things, a monthly magazine that's aptly been described as the New York Review of Books of the religious right. (And no, that's not oxymoronic.) The magazine strongly supported George W. Bush's original conception of the War on Terror, and so did I. In his speech to Congress and the nation on September 20, 2001, Bush stated that the United States would seek to decimate al Qaeda as well as every other terrorist groups of global reach. To this day I remain committed to that goal and willing to support aggressive military action (including the use of drone strikes) to achieve it. But thanks in large part to the Iraq war, I no longer consider myself a Republican or a man of the right.

    The reason I continue (like President Obama) to support the original vision of the War on Terror is that it was and is based on a correct judgment of the fundamental difference between (stateless) terrorists and traditional (state-based) military opponents. Even the most bloodthirsty tyrant will invariably temper his actions in war out of a concern for how his adversary will respond, and he will likewise act out of a concern for maintaining and maximizing his own power. Political leaders can thus be deterred by actions (and threats of action) by other states. Members of al-Qaeda-like groups, by contrast, seek in all cases to inflict the maximum possible number of indiscriminate deaths on their enemies and demonstrate no concern about the lives of their members. They are therefore undeterrable, which means that the only way to combat them is to destroy them.

    Unfortunately, the right began to disregard the crucial distinction between terrorists and states right around the time of the January 2002 State of the Union speech, when President Bush broadened the scope of the War on Terror to include an "axis of evil" consisting of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. After that, the mood among conservatives began to grow fierce. Some columnists denied the effectiveness of deterrence against states and advocated unilateral preventive war to overthrow hostile regimes instead. Others openly promoted American imperialism. Still others explicitly proposed that the United States act to topple the governments of a series of sovereign nations in the Muslim Middle East, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

    And these were the intellectually respectable suggestions, published in mainstream newspapers and long-established journals of opinion. Farther down the media hierarchy, on cable news, websites, and blogs, conservatives of all stripes closed ranks, unleashing a verbal barrage on any and all who dissented from a united front in favor of unapologetic American military muscle. The participants in this endless pep rally were insistent on open-ended war, overtly hostile to dissent, and thoroughly unforgiving of the slightest criticism of the United States abroad. Self-congratulation and self-righteousness ruled the day.

    Alarmed by the transformation on the right and in the magazine's offices, I wrote a lengthy email in October 2002 to a number of my fellow conservatives, explaining why I thought it would be a serious mistake to turn Iraq into the next front in the War on Terror. My reasons had nothing to do with the administration's claims about Saddam Hussein's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction; like all commentators on the right, most independent observers, and large numbers of intelligence agencies around the world, I assumed that Hussein either possessed or was actively working to acquire such weapons. Neither was I overly concerned about worldwide public opinion. I objected to what I judged to be three erroneous assumptions on the part of conservatives inside and outside the Bush administration.

    First, I believed the administration was wrong to claim that Hussein could not be deterred. In fact, he already had been. In the first Gulf War, Hussein refrained from using chemical weapons against our troops on the battlefield and against Israel in his inept Scud-missile attacks on Tel Aviv. Why? Because before the start of the war James Baker and Dick Cheney sent messages through diplomatic channels to the Iraqi dictator, informing him that we would respond to any use of WMD with a nuclear strike. Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Arens made similar threats. And they worked. Yes, Hussein was a brutal dictator, but he could be deterred.

    Second, it was foolish to believe (as Paul Wolfowitz and others on the right apparently did) that overthrowing Hussein would lead to the creation of a liberal democracy in Iraq that would, in turn, inspire democratic reforms throughout the Middle East. This view displayed an ignorance of (or, more likely, indifference toward) the competing ethnic and religious forces that prevailed in different regions of Iraq as well as a typically American optimism about the spontaneous capacity of all human beings in all times, places, and cultures for self-government. Rather than inspiring the formation of liberal democracies throughout the region, an Iraqi invasion could very well empower the very forces of radical Islam that the War on Terror rightly aimed to destroy.

    Third, the right was making a serious mistake in assuming that doing nothing about Iraq was inevitably more dangerous than doing something. The U.S. got caught with its pants down on 9/11, and the fear of it happening again was leading the Bush administration to formulate policies based entirely on negative evidence. The super-hawks advocating preventive war seemed more persuasive than those urging a more cautious approach because the former placed an ominous black box at the core of their deliberations — a black box containing all the horrors of our worst post-September 11 nightmares. But reasoning on that basis could be used to justify absolutely anything, and so, I concluded, it was a reckless guide to action.

    None of my friends and colleagues on the right responded to the arguments in my email, and few even acknowledged receiving it. By breaking from the right-wing consensus in favor of unconditional bellicosity, I had gone rogue. Over the next year and a half, as the victorious invasion became a bloody mess of an occupation and these same friends and colleagues refused to admit — to me or to themselves, let alone to the public — that they had made a massive mistake, I drifted away from the right and never looked back. (There were other factors, too.)

    My dissent had nothing to do with principles; it was a matter of prudence or judgment. On foreign policy, Republicans had become the stupid party. And so it remains 10 years later.
  2. Why I am no longer a Democrat. It has a lot to do with leftists waging war on America.
  3. Who cares.

    Only two questions you need to ask:

    Did the Iraq war impact the ability of the average American to put food on the table, send their kids to school or affect their material lifestyle in any way, shape or form? Yes or No?

    Is the world a better place without Saddam? Yes or nO?
  4. 1.The Iraq war will cost taxpayers 2-4 trillion dollars,so the answer is yes

    2.No.Saddam kept terrorists out of Iraq.Saddam kept Iran in check and would have been the first to act to stop them from building a nuclear weapon

    If Iraq was a good choice we should spend 2-4 trillion dollars and sacrifice American lives to take out every dictator in the world
  5. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323419104578374782011033990.html

    Noonan: Can the Republican Party Recover From Iraq?

    The war almost killed the GOP. Whether it can come back is yet to be seen.

    The air has been full of 10th-anniversary Iraq war retrospectives. One that caught my eye was a smart piece by Tom Curry, national affairs writer for NBC News, who wrote of one element of the story, the war's impact on the Republican party: "The conflict not only transformed" the GOP, "but all of American politics."

    It has, but it's an unfinished transformation.

    Did the Iraq war hurt the GOP? Yes. The war, and the crash of '08, half killed it. It's still digging out, and whether it can succeed is an open question.

    Here, offered in a spirit of open debate, is what the war did to the GOP:

    • It ruined the party's hard-earned reputation for foreign-affairs probity. They started a war and didn't win it. It was longer and costlier by every measure than the Bush administration said it would be. Before Iraq, the GOP's primary calling card was that it was the party you could trust in foreign affairs. For half a century, throughout the Cold War, they were serious about the Soviet Union, its moves, feints and threats. Republicans were not ambivalent about the need for and uses of American power, as the Democrats were in the 1970s and 1980s, but neither were they wild. After Iraq it was the Republicans who seemed at best the party of historical romantics or, alternatively, the worst kind of cynic, which is an incompetent one. Iraq marked a departure in mood and tone from past conservatism.

    • It muddied up the meaning of conservatism and bloodied up its reputation. No Burkean prudence or respect for reality was evident. Ronald Reagan hated the Soviet occupation of the Warsaw Pact countries—really, hated the oppression and violence. He said it, named it, and forced the Soviets to defend it. He did not, however, invade Eastern Europe to liberate it. He used military power sparingly. He didn't think the right or lucky thing would necessarily happen. His big dream was a nuclear-free world, which he pursued daringly but peacefully.

    • It ended the Republican political ascendance that had begun in 1980. This has had untold consequences, and not only in foreign affairs. And that ascendance was hard-earned. By 2006 Republicans had lost the House, by 2008 the presidency. Curry quotes National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru at a recent debate at the American Enterprise Institute: "You could make the argument that the beginning of the end of Republican dominance in Washington was the Iraq War, at least a stage of the Iraq War, 2005-06." In 2008 a solid majority of voters said they disapproved of the war. Three-quarters of them voted for Barack Obama.

    • It undermined respect for Republican economic stewardship. War is costly. No one quite knows or will probably ever know the exact financial cost of Iraq and Afghanistan, which is interesting in itself. Some estimates put it at $1 trillion, some $2 trillion. Mr. Curry cites a Congressional Budget Office report saying the Iraq operation had cost $767 billion as of January 2012. Whatever the number, it added to deficits and debt, and along with the Bush administration's domestic spending helped erode the Republican Party's reputation for sobriety in fiscal affairs.

    • It quashed debate within the Republican Party. Political parties are political; politics is about a fight. The fight takes place at the polls and in debate. But the high stakes and high drama of the wars—and the sense within the Bush White House that it was fighting for our very life after 9/11—stoked an atmosphere in which doubters and critics were dismissed as weak, unpatriotic, disloyal. The GOP—from top, the Washington establishment, to bottom, the base—was left festering, confused and, as the years passed, lashing out. A conservative movement that had prided itself, in the 1970s and 1980s, on its intellectualism—"Of a sudden, the Republican Party is the party of ideas," marveled New York's Democratic senator Pat Moynihan in 1979—seemed no longer capable of an honest argument. Free of internal criticism, national candidates looked daffy and reflexively aggressive—John McCain sang "Bomb, Bomb Iran"—and left the party looking that way, too.

    • It killed what remained of the Washington Republican establishment. This was not entirely a loss, to say the least. But establishments exist for a reason: They're supposed to function as The Elders, and sometimes they're actually wise. During Iraq they dummied up—criticizing might be bad for the lobbying firm. It removed what credibility the establishment had. And they know it.

    All this of course is apart from the central tragedy, which is the human one—the lost lives, the wounded, the families that will now not be formed, or that have been left smaller, and damaged.

    Iraq and Afghanistan have ended badly for the Republicans, and the party won't really right itself until it has candidates for national office who can present a new definition of what a realistic and well-grounded Republican foreign policy is, means and seeks to do. That will take debate. The party is now stuck more or less in domestic issues. As for foreign policy, they oppose Obama. In the future more will be needed.
    Peggy Noonan's Blog

    Daily declarations from the Wall Street Journal columnist.

    Many writers this week bragged about their opposition to the war, or defended their support of it. I'm not sure what good that does, but since I'm calling for debate, here we go. I had questions about an invasion until Colin Powell testified before the U.N. in February 2003. In a column soon after: "From the early days of the debate I listened to the secretary of state closely and with respect. I was glad to see a relative dove in the administration. It needed a dove. Mr. Powell's war-hawk foes seemed to me both bullying and unrealistic. Why not go slowly to war? A great nation should show a proper respect for the opinion of mankind, it should go to the world with evidence and argument, it should attempt to win allies. A lot of people tracked Mr. Powell's journey, and in a way took it with him. Looking back I think I did too."

    Mr. Powell told the U.N. Saddam Hussein must be stopped and asserted that Iraq had developed and was developing weapons of mass destruction. That turned out not to be true.

    But I believed it, supported the war, and cheered the troops. My break came in 2005, with two columns (here and here) that questioned Mr. Bush's thinking, his core premises and assumptions, as presented in his Second Inaugural Address. That questioning in time became sharp criticism, accompanied by a feeling of estrangement. In the future I would feel a deeper skepticism toward both parties.

    So that was my Iraq, wronger than some at the start, righter than some at the end, and not shocked by the darkening picture I saw when I went there in 2011.

    Henry Kissinger said recently that he had in his lifetime seen America enthusiastically enter four wars and struggle in the end to end each of them.

    Maybe great nations do not learn lessons, they relearn them.

    I called for a serious Republican debate on its foreign policy, but the Democrats need one too. What's their overarching vision? Do they have a strategy, or only sentiments?

    There's a lot of Republican self-criticism and self-examination going on. What about the Democrats'?
  6. Lucrum


    I stopped reading right there. What kind of moron changes parties over that one issue? Especially when so many democraps supported it initially as well.
  7. Whether it was a good choice or not is besides the point;

    1. Let's face it. If you were middle class, your wages were higher during the Iraq war era under Bush than under Obama. If you lost your home during the financial crisis, you had one during the Iraq war. If you are on food stamps now(record high), you probably weren't on food stamps then. Life was great for the average American, whether some guy riding a camel got shot 6000 miles away had nothing to do with your bank balance.

    2. Are you saying it was okay for Saddam to main torture and kill his own people? Did you not read the reports of what Saddam and his sons would do, go out in their Rolls Royce and literally just shoot and rape whoever they pleased? That is okay with you?
  8. BSAM


    If you are a republican or a democrat, there's only one way to

    describe you: STUPID!

    There is one party that is different and for your freedom:

  9. The North Korean regime rapes North Korean women and girls as they please and maims, torture and kills their own people in prison camps.Should we invade,sacrifice American lives and spend trillions of dollars to stop them ?
  10. Not saying that at all. All I am saying is, the iraq war had no impact on my life and that the world is a better place without Saddam in it. That's all there is to it. And it's probably true for the majority of people.

    What is amusing is people keep harping over this issue.
    #10     Mar 22, 2013