Saturday, September 01, 2007

A test of seriousness

Christopher Hitchens in Slate Magazine has an interesting article on the "three different wars" in Iraq. He concludes:

The ability to distinguish among these different definitions of the "war" is what ought to define the difference between a serious politician and a political opportunist, both in Iraq and in America. The obliteration of political life and civil society by Saddam Hussein's fascism has meant that most of the successor political figures are paltry (and the Kurdish exception to this exactly proves the point: Kurdistan escaped from Baathist control a full decade before the rest of Iraq did). It will take a good while before any plausible nonsectarian figures can emerge from the wasteland and also brave the climate of murder and intimidation that the forces of the last dictatorship, and the would-be enforcers of an even worse future one, have created. Meanwhile, it is all very well for Sens. Clinton and Levin to denounce the Maliki government and to say that he and his Dawa Party colleagues are not worth fighting for. But what do they say about the other two wars? Sen. Clinton in particular has said several times in the past that we cannot, for example, abandon the Kurds as we once did before. Should she not be asked if this is still her view? And did I miss what Sen. Levin had to say about the battle against AQM? The next election is rightly going to be fought, to a considerable extent, over the question of Iraq. Answers to these questions about that question are a test of seriousness that all voters should be keeping in mind.

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