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Better Late than Never: Senate Democrats Force Debate on Iraq

July 17, 2007

Iraq is beyond a rock and a hard place. One is reminded of what Thomas Jefferson said of slavery: it’s like a wolf we have hold of by the ears; we can neither safely hold it, nor let it go.

It will be hard for me to ever forgive the Democratic party for cynically granting Bush the power four years ago to make this war, and for not laying it all on the line earlier this year when debating the surge. But I suppose that the Senate Democratic leadership deserve our thanks — or at least they need our encouragement — in finally forcing a debate on the Iraq war.

Since the original justification for the war have been exposed as fraud (WMDs), and the secondary justification (liberation and democratization of Iraq) as naive at best, those who continue to support this appalling war can resort only to a fearful question: what will happen if we pull out? That is a necessary question, and the difficulty imagining a palatable answer is presented as a clinching argument to stay the course. But there is another, equally necessary question that must be asked: what will happen if we stay. It is equally impossible to imagine plausible positive outcomes. When we leave, it will be chaos; every day we stay clearly exacerbates the violence

Iraq is beyond a rock and a hard place. One is reminded of what Thomas Jefferson said of slavery: it’s like a wolf we have hold of by the ears; we can neither safely hold it, nor let it go. Maybe so, but if we are bound to go holding this wolf, we had better find ways to make it tame. The “surge” is not going to accomplish that, no matter how many troops we send or how long we keep them there. Its long past time to change our approach.

War is not the answer. It never was. There is no doubt that the United States today possesses the most dominant military force in history. But there are things military force, no matter how powerful, can never accomplish. That’s the lesson we need to make sure is learned from this tragedy.

Last week, Catholics United, Network, and Pax Christi launched an initiative to mobilize Catholics to demand an end to the war. You can sign their petition here.

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