Thursday, October 16, 2008

The trouble with politics

Surprise! The United States has agreed to withdraw from Iraq by 2011.

People have been criticizing Obama because he wants a time line to get to a point in Iraq where withdrawal is possible. Conversely, McCain is praised in some circles because he has none.

Anyone who had the opportunity to watch the vice-presidential debate two weeks ago might remember when Joe Biden called out Sarah Palin for McCain's dissenting vote on a bill that would have provided body armor, supplies and funding for troops in Iraq. (Who knows if that annecdote was actually true? NPR reported the day after the debate that some of the facts might not have been exactly, um, accurate.)

Palin's explanation was that McCain was fully justified because the bill introduced a time line for removing American troops from the conflict. At first, you want to agree: "Hey! A time line? That's not right!"

But then you stop and think. Isn't the lack of an exit strategy what got us into this mess in the first place? Let's look at personal goals. When is it ever smart to not have a desired schedule to get things done?

If I want to run a marathon, I will never succeed if I just hope the proper training happens by the day of the race. I need to have tangible goals that include a time frame: 10 miles by a certain date...15 the next week...20 the next, and so on. By the end of the time period, maybe I would be capable of running the marathon.

Perhaps what Obama wants is for certain goals to be accomplished so that it's possible for us to drastically reduce the amount of personnel we have in Iraq. No one's suggesting that we just suddenly stop fighting the war. (Can we still call it that?)

And I think that's what we should be talking about here: Having tangible goals and deadlines for Iraqis to start taking responsibility so we can get to a point where it's feasible to withdraw. Of course, this should be determined by military experts, and I think that Obama is smart enough to realize this.

McCain and Palin are sold the idea that a time line of goals in Iraq is a bad thing, and inexplicably, the American people bought it.

The bothersome thing about the presidential election is that, at best, we're electing the most middle-of-the-road candidate--the nominee that appeals most to the broadest spectrum of Americans' vastly different belief sets.

At worst, we're electing a liar: someone who will say the necessary things and hops through the necessary rings to get the vote while he or she really intends to do things their way upon election.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

palin is hot.

add me to your blogroll on wordpress & take off the word verification for your comments.