Saturday, January 19, 2008

McCain, How Do You Sleep At Night?

"On top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies."

So that quote is really from McBain, not McCain, but it would be pretty funny if the Senator shared those sleeping habits.

Oh yeah, this post is about a recent exchange McCain had at one of his town meetings regarding the presence of troops in Iraq. My better half pointed me to this NY Times blog article that defended McCain, or at the very least attempted to provide a more fair account of the aforementioned exchange than the D.N.C. (as described in the article).

McCain takes a pretty hawkish stance on this issue, essentially arguing that American troops and bases are needed around the world to ensure national security. I'd be interested to hear his reaction to the other side of this chicken-or-the-egg argument (the one Ron Paul espouses), that the reason our national security is threatened is because we have bases all over the world.

I find it encouraging that both McCain and Paul have consistent and honest messages, but I think the answer is somewhere in between. I agree with Paul, that our presence in their land is a significant cause of the anti-American sentiment in the Middle East. Removing or at least dramatically decreasing our presence there is a perhaps the ideal solution.

I can't believe that it is the most practical solution, however. I believe our nation is stuck in a situation where it is extremely dependent on stability in the Middle East. I can't believe I just wrote "stability in the Middle East" and was not attempting humor. Maybe it's better (and easier) to say, we can't have Iraq become Afghanistan.

I continue to contend that although we need to see progressive turnover of responsibility to Iraqis, it would be a mistake for a candidate to promise and plan a complete pull-out when they take office. In the long term, I agree with Paul and disagree with McCain that we need bases in places like Japan, Germany and Korea. But the practicality of removing our presence in the Middle East is strongly tied to our nation's ability to remove its dependence on the petrol flowing from the region.

I invite comments from everyone, be it on McCain, Paul, any other candidate or the subject of our military presence overseas. I know I will learn more by discussing with you.


Austin said...

Don't worry about the candidates talking about pulling troops out of Iraq. It is not a reasonable option.

My guess on McCain's sleeping habits - up every hour to pee and awake for good by 4 am.

Ryan said...

I'm glad people are actually having this debate. It would have been nice to have it before we decided to invade Iraq, but it was unpopular to debate then.

Now it's popular to pull out of Iraq. 70% of the U.S. public supports it. Most of the Dems (except for Obama and Kucinich) want to pull out just because the polls support it... i.e. no principles behind it other than political expediency.

Republicans want to stay for other reasons, reasons I'm still not clear on. Stubbornness? Or as Huckabee claimed, Honor? Practicality?

Is it a practical solution? I think most people feel it's damned if we do, damned if we don't. So if we're going to be damned, lets save some of our money and lives.

But on the larger picture, I hope people are starting to realize that there is another option. A new option that is rooted in tradition rather than radicalism. Just because it's been this way our whole lives shouldn't make it the bookends for debate.

We spend ~$1 Trillion a year on national defense, national offense and security. Seems out of whack to me...

Happy MLK Jr. Day!

Roller said...

Aus, Rye, thanks for your comments. Good points by both.

Aus I think you're right... no matter what promises they make about an early withdrawl... we're pretty sunk in there. I've heard that we're building a base outside of Baghdad, something that may eventually replace the base in Incirlik, Turkey. If that's true, it doesn't sound like something we'll be evacuating in the next year.

Rye... that's a big number. And to think 1/4 of that is on A-ROD...