Keith Olbermann’s impassioned, yet unconvincing, demand for U.S. troop withdrawal
So, I’m no expert on the war in Iraq, nor am I especially savvy about the latest political happenings. Notwithstanding my relatively small degree of knowledge, however, I am learning to be shrewd in evaluating the arguments being made on the cable news channels. Last night, I came across a very unconvincing diatribe by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC about President Bush and the Iraq War. My initial impression of Olbermann from the several times I’ve seen him on TV is not flattering: I think he’s disrespectful, self-important, and unrealistically extreme in his opinions (my experience has taught me that extreme positions almost always oversimplify situations which are actually quite complex). This particular “Special Comment” on his “Countdown” program was consistent with my perceptions of his character. While his rant did draw on an impressive arsenal of inflammatory vocabulary, I was nevertheless unconvinced by his accusations that President Bush has and continues to pull the wool over our eyes about Iraq and that by pulling our troops out of Iraq we will basically save our country, and perhaps even the world, the way some people talk about it. I also snickered when he ended his comments with “Good night, and good luck”.
The fact that we entered Iraq in the first place is what an economist might deem a sunk cost; whether or not we should have gone there in the first place is spilt milk we shouldn’t cry about. Furthermore, I don’t believe that the validity of our decision to go in can create a very strong argument for withdrawing. This has probably been painfully obvious to many, including my good friend at Den of Hydralisks, but it just dawned on me that the power vacuum we would create by leaving would quite readily filled by people much less savory than ourselves. President Ahmadinejad of Iran was recently quoted by the AP as saying:
“The political power of the occupiers is collapsing rapidly…Soon, we will see a huge power vacuum in the region. Of course, we are prepared to fill the gap, with the help of neighbors and regional friends like Saudi Arabia, and with the help of the Iraqi nation.”
One thing I like about this man is the candor of his often-nefarious intentions. His lack of subtlety (unless it is in actuality a clever ploy to veil his real intentions) makes the thought of thwarting him very tempting, and also offers useful ammunition in defending the war at home in the U.S. I don’t want to see Iraq effectively handed over to terrorists and/or rogue states like Iran. There’s no question that war is ugly, and it goes without saying that we are going to incur more losses if we stay in Iraq, but it would be woefully short-sighted to pull out now.