Virtual Talmud

I don’t think Rabbi Waxman meant to say as much, but just to be clear: there is no Jewish position on the Iraq war. There are good wars, bad wars and complicated wars but there are few if any Jewish or non-Jewish wars. That said, when looking at Iraq certainly in the short term it has been, at best, a wasted war. As a nuclear Iran keeps creeping up on us, we realize what a waste of time, energy, resources, and capital the war in Iraq was. It is not that Saddam was a good man who deserved to be in power, but war is a calculus and it involves not just figuring out who is in clear and immanent danger, but also who is in the most clear and immanent danger.

Yes, it seems the surge has, to some degree, succeeded in creating at least some form of military order. But we are still years away from any sense of governing structure or semblance of a democratic culture. Right now American troops are at best functioning as a dam against powerful sectarian forces. Perhaps that dam can turn into an infrastructure for a more stable democratic culture, but if Saddam’s rule is any blueprint such a situation seems somewhat unlikely. That said, for the foreseeable future American troops will be in Iraq. Though well-meaning, the demand for troop reduction is more an altruistic fantasy on the part of those who wish they could turn back time than a reasonable political position.

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