Monday, December 04, 2006

Defending morality from G. Will.

I read George Wills column today, and starting with the title he chose (America's Moral Duty in Iraq) I found myself questioning over and over, what morality can America hope to squeeze from the entire experience in Iraq.

When it comes down to it, what I think on this one may be one of those black and white, this is the way it is period, opinions I have. I find great enjoyment in slamming around the President for holding just this type of outlook on life, so I search deep in my soul for a seed of doubt as to how I see this. To this point I have found none. My question for those who would use the word morality when talking about America and Iraq is this: How can we have morality going forward when the entire endeavor is based upon immorality to begin with?

The entire Iraq invasion is based upon lies pure and simple. I'm not aware of a belief structure in human existence that believes flat out lying is moral. Is there any form of structured belief that teaches it's adherents that lying in the pursuit of ones own priorities is acceptable? (Besides capitalism?! that was a joke!) Nearly by definition, when governing a republic, an informed electorate or representation of the electorate is indispensable for enlightened leadership. Quite simply this war was based upon lies and continuing the mistake, for whatever reason at this point, is to build upon that immorality.

Once the lies leading to invasion were exposed the base justification for continued occupation has shifted like the dunes we find ourselves trapped in. We've heard everything from fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here to the President bemoaning the oil fields falling to the hands of the terrorist. No one seems to be horribly upset some of the largest reserves in the world are controlled by the Iranians, and their ties to terror are harped on on a daily basis by this administration.

Morality? Where were the international morality seeking right wing administration toadies when Abu Ghraib was exposed? Actively trying to quash the truth yet again by claiming that exposing the scandal would hurt American interests... because what it exposed was so absolutely freaking immoral on it's face! In fact those who support the occupation of Iraq must answer for each past moral outrage and those yet to come. I consider each dead American kid a moral outrage... and not just because they are over there in an evident hopeless cause, although that is bad enough to be sure. They are dying for this administrations lies, and dying because the. worst. President. ever. is commander in chief. Pure and simple. I'm afraid if you believe there will be no more moral outrages, as commonly understood, to be exposed in the future, you are very naive. As long as we have people in that hell hole we'll have the massacres and what not...

Attention Billo fans: please do not read this as an attack on the troops. It is an attack on human nature when placed into a killing field and then rotated through 3 or 4 times... Stuff happens because our troops are human beings, not robots, and the sooner we recognize the futility of this immoral war and correct our mistakes the better off the troops, and those they represent will be.

Let me address the Wills article in particular: He describes an interview between Senator McCain and George Stephanopoulos:
George Stephanopoulos: "President Bush has said he doesn't want to send more troops now. So by your own standards isn't it currently immoral to keep Marines and soldiers, other service people in Iraq?"

McCain: "Yes it is."

Moments later, Stephanopoulos asked: "At what point do you say, I am not going to be complicit with an immoral policy?"

McCain: "When I think we've exhausted every possibility to do what is necessary to succeed and not until then, because the consequences of failure are catastrophic. . . . We left Vietnam, it was over, we just had to heal the wounds of war. We leave this place, chaos in the region and they'll follow us home. So there's a great deal more at stake here in this conflict in my view. A lot more."

Stephanopoulos: If the Iraq Study Group does not call for an increase in troops as you've advocated, "will you call for American troops to come home?"

McCain: "I will if at the point I think that we have exhausted every option and that we are doomed to failure."

At long last, rigor. McCain applies two principles of moral reasoning. There can be no moral duty to attempt what cannot be done. And: If you will an end, you must will the means to that end.
There must be more to morality than those two basic tests, no? We see by history that Al Qaeda was able to fly planes into the twin towers. Just because they had the ability to do so, and then applied the means, certainly that test alone does not provide the moral justification. We must apply those "two principles of moral reasoning" to a larger test of morality: Is our cause just? Are we right? Can we avoid needless bloodshed. All these questions and the answers to each are the true test of morality as far as I'm concerned.

So yes Senator McCain, and Mr. Will. The question of the morality of this war going forward is open. Not because we have too few troops in theater. It is in question because of why they are there in the first place. To answer the challenge given by Wills title, maybe "Americas Moral Duty in Iraq" was to get it right in the first place. Seems pretty cut and dried to me.

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