For the past few months we’ve been subjected to the details of the Democratic primary race in Connecticut. I’ve seen many who were against the war in Iraq point to this election as a validation that their position was the majority now, including pointing to polls supporting their position. But are they really right?
The primary election was much closer than many had thought, Lamont won by a few percentage points. But he did win, so what does that mean concerning the war? Well, had Lieberman not decided to run as an independant, it have most definitely pointed to that position being a majority one in a state that is arguably one of the most liberal in the country.
However, the story isn’t over. With Lieberman running as an independent and there being such a large number of self-proclaimed independents in the state, new polling is now telling us that he is ahead at this point in time. Perhaps that tells us that Lieberman’s position, that our fight against terrorism is a real one and must not be abandoned, in a state that is so liberal, is actually closer to the majority position in the United States than the left of the Democratic party would have us believe.
To further point to the issue, it appears now that Lamont is discussing firing his campaign staff that got him elected in the Democratic primary and hiring a new staff that will help him get the message out that he is more of a centrist than he appeared to be in the primary. And the far left of the Democratic party is outraged.
The issue relating to the war in Iraq is a divisive one indeed. But it is not a black and white one as many on the left and right of the aisle are deluded into thinking. Many agree that Saddam was a brutal dictator who waged war on his own citizens to retain power, supported international terrorism abroad, had showed continued defiance to the US and the international community for over a decade and may indeed have had left over or newly created WMDs. Coupled with the knowledge that he considered himself still in a war with the US and vowed to fight the US until he could no longer, it is not hard to understand why so many people believed that action against Iraq was necessary.
But, after blowing through the country so quickly and not securing a reasonable peace in the area, eventually getting bogged down in the ‘afterwar’ that is more bloody and deadly than the war that ousted Hussein was, many are thinking we shouldn’t have been there that long after deposing Hussein. And that while we shouldn’t ‘abandon’ the Iraqis as we did when they first revolted after our encouragement, that we should be scaling back our presence quickly and letting Iraq learn to stand on their own. What to do NOW is the issue many are concerned about and divided over much more than the issue of going to war in the first place, but many are trying to make the two issues one and the same.
No one should allow ‘groupthink’ to dictate their opinions on this topic. We should all be examining the facts and putting them in contexts with what we knew when to come to the conclusion on what we should be doing now and in the future. I am aghast with the administration for how it has completely bungled the handling of the ‘afterwar’. But I am not about to let that opinion convince me that we shouldn’t have ousted Hussein much like we ousted Milosovich in the 90s for much the same reasons. Don’t let the partisans on either side confuse you about the issue, it is OK to believe that the war was necessary but the handling is bungled OR that the war wasn’t necessary but now that we are there we should stay until we can provide appropriate security.
Those two opinions are both completely valid in this era of anti-war and stay the course politics.