Monday, August 11, 2008

We just don't want to help the Iraqi people

This is a common complaint on the right, exemplified in Mark Hillman's latest article. He takes Obama to task for his Berlin speech.
Obama recalled how the mayor of Berlin exhorted his people and "the people of the world" to "stand together united until this battle is one."

But Obama's record toward the people of Iraq is just the opposite. Had his view prevailed, the world would have turned its back on the Iraqis, allowing Saddam Hussein to continue his reign of terror, torture, murder and rape. Rather than help Iraqis secure their freedom, Obama's policy of retreat in the face of adversity would have told the people of Baghdad, "We're outta here; fend for yourselves."
A couple of points worth mentioning. First of all let's dispense with all of the moralistic finger waving about our lack of commitment to the Iraqi people. When people wave that canard in your face, simply ask what about the poor people in Rwanda (or any other hotspot out side of the middle east where people are dying)? Most conservatives will very quickly point out that we didn't have a strategic reason to get involved there, and that we can't risk American troops on strictly humanitarian grounds. At which point the conversation is back on strategic grounds.

Secondly you can point out that our involvement in Iraq has been less than wholly positive; some Iraqis have said that things were better before we invaded, and not just former Baathists. If the goal is to help and support the Iraqis why do so many of them seem to want us out of there?

Crossposted at the Salon Annex of Stupid Enough Unexplanation .

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