Bacevich on Iraq
John McGreevy October 15, 2007 - 8:49am
The exchange between Mathew Shadle and Andrew Bacevich on Iraq in the current Commonweal is an illuminating one. I thought Bacevich especially cogent here:
But then, it is not we who are fighting, and it is not we who are in Iraq. Rather, 160,000 U.S. troops along with several thousand other government employees are there. Many of the soldiers currently serving in Iraq are back for their second, third, or even fourth combat tours. We, that is, have assigned to a tiny fragment of our overall population the burden of discharging whatever moral responsibility the nation as a whole has accrued in Iraq. The vast majority of Americans have opted out of the war, preferring instead to go about their daily lives as if the war did not exist. In practical terms, we have never cared a fig about Iraq; the exertions of our military sustain the pretense that we really do. The inevitable consequence of continuing the war is to perpetuate this odious arrangement. To insist that the United States acquit its moral obligation to Iraq by sending someone elses son or daughter to fight there is to perpetrate a grave injustice at home under the guise of correcting one far away from home.
And Bacevich could have added: we -- that is, the Bush administration first and foremost but also Congress -- won't even raise taxes to pay for the war, or to assist in reducing our dependency on Middle Eastern oil.
About the Author
John T. McGreevy is the I.A. O'Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters and Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame.