Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Economist Presents Refreshing Model for Debate in Editorial on Iraq War

Our son subscribes to The Economist and I get The Week. Both arrived in our mailbox yesterday and both had cover stories, predictably, on Iraq.

The Week presented a balanced summary of the debate over the future of Iraq policy as it happened in Congress and the media following Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha's startling proposal that the US begin a phased, six-month withdrawal from Iraq.

The Economist, that venerable British publication, features an editorial titled "Why America Must Stay." For Americans, mired in the cliches of Red State/Blue State combat, the argument presented there, whether one agrees with where the editorial lands or not, is interesting.

The editorial largely confirms the critiques of most opponents of the war in Iraq. It claims that:
Mr Bush's team mis-sold the war, neglected post-invasion planning, has never committed enough troops to the task and has taken a cavalier attitude to human rights.
The editorial even agrees with those who say that while Iraq was not a theater in the global war on terrorism before the US invasion, it has become that now.

But, The Economist says, "In our opinion it would be disastrous for America to retreat hastily from Iraq." Ultimately, the magazine argues that while the price of remaining in Iraq is high, precipitate retreat would exact a greater price from America. "Driving America out of Iraq," the editorial asserts, "would grant militant Islam a huge victory. "

As you know, it's not my policy here--except in the rarest of instances--to commend particular political opinions. So, I'm not doing that here.

What I found interesting about The Economist article is a quality I wish I could see more of in our political discussions, a freedom to depart from the safe conventions of political isms and to consider all the arguments, no matter what their philosophical pedigree.

In short, it would be wonderful to have less heat and more light in our political discussions.

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