Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Moral Stakes of Withdrawing Troops.

The Christian Science Monitor has a good piece on the 'Moral Stakes of Exciting Iraq'. If the whole idea that international politics should be somewhat 'moral' seems quite foreign to the many Europeans (who after two World Wars have adopted the more cynical Machiavelli's-The Prince philosophy into their own), "Americans like to think of themselves as a moral people, a champion for good in the world" , the CSM reminds us.
Despite all the heated rhetoric and animosity among the different camps, there exists a common thread: a sense of responsibility over what conditions the US-led coalition leaves behind when its troops inevitably depart.
Since the Weapons of Mass Desturction were never found, the other 'casus belli' that can be used to justify the war is to get rid of a brutal dictator but:
... the moral case for ridding the world of a thug - a central argument in the run-up to war - gets trumped in the event that the US leaves behind something worse.
The morality of the war has also become harder to sustain in the light of the many violations of human rights (torture, Gitzmo or the use of white phosporus weapons) that have come up. How much 'evil' can be good for a greater 'good'? This is I believe where the gap between the American public opinion and the Neo-cons is the greater.
Europeans would also have a problem with that but they think that wars can't be moral anyway... That's why they tend to be against it, as a pricniple, even perharps when they shouldn't. It is not just the two World Wars, it is also the result of the post-WWI colonial wars. Europeans have a colonist complex unknown to the Americans.
But if, as suggested in this article, the situation in Iraq is worse when the US leaves than when they came in, it'll be hard for most Americans to see themselves as a force of good. The situation may have the sour taste of Vietnam all over again, and as we are beginning to see, the result could be a growing isolasionist sentiment in the American public opinion.


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