The end of the Iraq War and the Courage of Progressive Convictions

This week’s announcement that all our troops will be home from Iraq by the end of the year got me thinking. We’ve certainly heard the obligatory Neo-Con voices saying that this a mistake, harms our security, harms the region, etc. I haven’t heard as many Progressive voices crowing, but I suspect that’s because they are so weary from the long years of misguided war that they’re just glad it’s finally over. That, and a sprinkle of sense and tact enough to know that this is a solemn occasion, suffused with a lot of loss for everyone involved.

But at the heart of this development lies a great irony: the Administration tried for what the Neo-Cons wanted, an extended ongoing presence after direct combat was ended. It failed to secure Iraqi cooperation with that goal, and it is this failure that has resulted in the end result Progressives have wanted for years, a complete end to the war, with all troops home.

This seems symptomatic to me of a frustration I’ve had with this Administration, the fact that it more often than rarely delivers, or tries to deliver outcomes that match the Conservative policy agenda. This, of course is done in the quite reasonable name of trying to work with the opposing side and achieve compromise. This after all, is actually a key trait of the Progressive worldview, the idea that even those who don’t agree with you may have some valid views, and that it’s important to find common ground.

Here’s the thing: Finding common ground is not a value the Conservative movement shares. They operate in the land of ideas like “we’re right, you’re wrong” and “if you’re not with us, you’re against”. And they’ve gotten where they have, electorally, by sticking to their guns (quite literally in some cases!) even when those guns are unpopular.

Wouldn’t it be something to see Progressives in power be equally unapologetic?

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