Friday, March 5, 2010

Health Care Reform and The Iraq War - The New Republic's Connection

William Gaston of The New Republic did an OP-ED Piece the other day how the President is doing the right thing by moving forward with health care reform even though the majority of the public is against it. He is comparing President Bush moving forward with the surge strategy in Iraq as his justification. I have to give it to him, this is the first time I have heard this comparison.

“With the passage of time,” former Bush administration official Pete Wehner writes today, “President Bush’s decision to champion a new counterinsurgency strategy, including sending 30,000 additional troops to Iraq when most Americans were bone-weary of the war, will be seen as one of the most impressive and important acts of political courage in our lifetime.”

I was always on the fence about the war. I am not normally one not to have a strong opinion, but in this case I did not. On one hand, Saddam was a terrible man who no problem committing mass murder, as he did with the Kurds. Call me crazy, but I don’t think that sociopaths should be heads-of-state. The other side of that argument is it the job of The United States to deal with? I remember telling someone that I was working with at the time that I was not sure that we should be making a ten year commitment to a country in The Middle East, that it would be used as yet another recruiting tool for al Qaeda. I had always believed we would need to be there for a minimum of ten years. The country didn’t have the proper infrastructure to set up a democratic type government and that would take time to create.

I was especially unhappy to learn how badly it was bungled by Donald Rumsfeld. At the beginning of the Bush administration one of the goals had been to make our military smaller and more nimble. Then 9/11 happened. Whatever the plans were to make changes to how the military was going to run should have been put on hold. Rumsfeld tried to accomplish both goals at once. It did not work. He tried to fight Iraq on the cheap and the Bush presidency never really recovered. The surge was the right thing to do because it was our moral obligation to fix what we broke. We went in without the proper plan for the aftermath and did not make the necessary adjustments once we saw what was happening on the ground. The surge was done to give the country some stability in order to move forward with developing a government that will work for that country, and it also lessened the bloodshed.

To compare the health care reform bill to a war is just incredulous to me. His believe is that President Obama is simply working in the interests of the US people like President Bush did with the surge. I have always believed that President Bush truly believed that Saddam was a direct threat to the US. After 9/11, he believed his mission was to protect and defend the US homeland, which is part of the oath he took when sworn into office. The reality is he was wrong. Saddam was “contained” as the Europeans said during the run up to the war. At the end of the day, his intentions were good, but that doesn’t change the facts. Although, I recently read that yellowcake was found in Iraq and transferred to Canada. The AP reported it once after the transfer was complete, and it was never really talked about again, as the lame stream media never picked up the story. If that is the case, then maybe I would have to change my assessment.

I too believe that President Obama does believe that his health care reform bill is the right thing to do for the country. He believes it to his core, I don’t doubt that. What I doubt is that “reform” bill will actually help the underlying problems. Just because the President believes it, doesn’t make him right.


The Conservative Lady said...

Not to mention the fact that Obama is out to "fundamentally change our country" and nothing President Bush did regarding the war can be compared to that.

Howard Towt said...


I appreciated your juxtaposition of the political maneuvering in Iraq vs. Obama's healthcare initiative. However, I've got a comment - from a strategic perspective.

Our mission in Iraq is to set up a center of Western influence within the Middle East. The Middle East is an area that creates world instability based on the nexus of religion and politics.

You never get to have that "academic comparison" in real life between what is and what might have been, but in the Middle East, the United States said, "It is not in our national interest to have a policy of isolation and disengagement from this area of our planet's geography." The events of 9/11 made that abundantly clear.

If you are of the "stick in time" mindset, then it is a good idea to step in before things get really bad. If not, then appeasement, containment, etc. make sense. Unfortunately, as we are seeing in Iran (and throughout history), these actions just forestall the inevitable.

I think the 4,000 American lives sacrificed in Iraq are noble and are bringing stability to that region. If Iraq becomes the model for democracy in the region, that is life-changing.

I hope you are watching the election process taking place over there right now. This is huge!

And watch out: As things improve, you might be like Vice President Joe Biden and jump enthusiastically on the bandwagon!

Just a conservative girl said...

I was only referring to WMD. I actually happen to agree that if a democracy can truly take hold it will be a great thing in human history. I just am unhappy that we bungled it in the beginning.

It does seem to be going well at this time. I recently was talking to someone who works at State who just got back from Iraq. He told me that things are much better than what is reported, and are much worse than what is reported. He said that people are still being killed, but people are out living thier lives. One of the problems is that they still don't have a great deal of infrastructure, such as water and electricity. I do hope that they can get the country the way they want it, because I doubt that it will be the vision that we had for it.

I actually just was near a polling station here, and the people are dancing in the streets. I am very happy for them, they understand how important it is to vote. Something that not all Americans get.

Howard Towt said...


Thank you for responding to my comment. It does in fact seem that great things are happening over there. My only hope is that these real-life lessons in freedom are making an impact in places where the threats are more subtle (America?).

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