Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Good Questions

David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo wants the hearings for Robert Gates to be held by the Democrat-led Senate Armed Services Committee, not the lame duck Senate. I agree. The American people voted in the Democrats, in part because of Iraq, so let’s hear Gates’s answers to their tough questions. Kurtz gives examples of some questions:

What is victory? What is the strategic objective? Are we spread too thin militarily and how do we address that? What will troop rotations look like going forward? What should our force strength be? How much repair and replenishment of materiel is required and what will it cost? What resources do we need to commit in Afghanistan? What are the relative priorities?

I’d be interested in hearing the answers to those questions myself. If the Democrats keep it to tough policy questions, more power to them. If they let the hearings degenerate into Judiciary Committee-style character smears, that will tell us something about their ability to legislate with any seriousness at all.


Anonymous said...


Do you have any thoughts on the merrits of our Afghanistan and Iraq campains. There has been much debate in Objectivist circles over whether it is even worth it to continue with the war effort there. For example, Tracinski at TIA seems to think that cut and run would be a disaster. But somehow I get the impression that Lewis, Brook and Peikoff don't see it that way.

I have even read some consevatives like Daniel Pipes for example who have argued for a strategic retreat leaving bases in out of the way parts of the Iraqi desert. Sounds good, no?

Myrhaf said...

You're asking a tough question, Madmax -- one that I've gone back and forth on. I agree with most Objectivists that our biggest mistake was not destroying the government of Iran. After that it gets complicated. I'm not convinced that nation building is not in our self-interest, but if we just create religious tyrannies in Iraq and Afghanistan, that's no good. The wild card, as I see it, is the power of capitalism. If we can establish even a hampered free market in Iraq with secure property rights, it could transform the region in a generation. In 20 years you could see people from the surrounding countries flooding into Iraq the way Mexicans come to USA.

With the fall of communism, the muslim world was the last place the socialists could point to and say, "Capitalism is not for everyone." I think that is a big part of why they opposed the invasion of Iraq so vigorously. I would love to see what freedom could do to Arab countries in the middle east. The question is, can we even establish a partial freedom in countries that have Sharia law? Is Islam, unlike Japan and Germany, hopeless?

Myrhaf said...

I just watched Yaron Brook's speech on the Forward Strategy of Victory at aynrand.org. My last comment was inadequate. I'll have to write a post on this.

EdMcGon said...

For me, the issue comes down to free trade. If the U.S. is going to trade with that region, then we have to do something.

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Gus Van Horn said...

"With the fall of communism, the muslim world was the last place the socialists could point to and say, 'Capitalism is not for everyone.'"

That is an excellent point, and one that a lefty who used to follow my blog kept trying to harrangue me with, although not in so many words. Thank you for explaining him!

Re: The "commenter" before me, might I recommend word verification for comments? It works very well eliminating comment spam and is a major reason I continue using Blogger.

Anonymous said...

Yaron Brook's speech was an eye opener for me as well. I'm looking foward to your post.

Bill Visconti

Myrhaf said...

Bill, I'll try to get it done by next week or the week after that. I'm having a problem right now because I don't know what I think. I'm going over Tracinski's arguments, and also going through my shelf of books by Ayn Rand, reading everything she wrote about Vietnam.

EdMcGon said...

Yaron Brooks? Didn't he used to be the quarterback for the Raiders?

Sorry, I couldn't resist. ;)