Carl von Clausewitz famously said "War is merely a continuation of politics." I wonder if those that continue to support the war in Iraq really understand that statement. Clausewitz wasn't arguing that a state could achieve it's goals by either diplomatic or military means but not both. He was arguing precisely the opposite- that diplomacy and the use of force often overlap.
One need not look far to see examples of Iraq war supporters falling into this tiger trap of binary thinking. Just a quick perusal of the comments on Howard Kurtz's blog today provides us this specimen-
OK. democrats want us to run. What do they think is going to happen after that? How do they see the world future after that? What are they going to do when Iran finally gets nuclear weapons and starts little by little orchestrating more attacks on americans worlwide and taking control of the whole middle east oil resources? what are they going to do ? find the way to keep blaming somebody else? Eventually somebody is going to go back there and confront an enemy a thousand times more dangerous can you image the carnage? cant the Dems see that?
It's an fascinating world that Mr. Bradlee lives in. A world in which the United States is either fully engaged in a regional conflict in the Middle East or apparently cowering within the confines of it's own shores, huddled under a desk waiting for the inevitable next terrorist attack. I'd love to apply such a binary dichotomy to other facets of life. For example - you are either the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots and a fine athletic specimen or a five-hundred pound couch potato that will have to be hauled out of your double-wide on a forklift after you pass away from heart disease. Varying degrees of physical fitness just don't exist.
A withdrawal of a substantial number of our forces from Iraq does not mean we've disengaged completely from the region. Nor does it mean we've simply surrendered to threat of global terrorism. Outside of the military resources we'll undoubtedly maintain within striking distance the United States has, or at least used to have, substantial influence via diplomatic and economic means. That so many on the Right can only see the greatness of the United States in terms of "blowing stuff up" is one of mysteries of our time.