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I intend to post on the debate ASAP--but since the debate thus far is merely recycling old rhetoric, here are a couple of rebuttals remixed and reprised:

One more time, here are the reasons that going into Iraq made sense at the time:

1. Saddam was bad. He deserved ouster, capture, trial and execution. Twenty-five million Iraqis deserved an opportunity to take control of their lives free of Saddam's oppressive regime.

2. Saddam was at war with the United States and a threat to regional security. For more than a decade, we flew combat missions over Iraq and drew anti-aircraft fire everyday. Our forces were stationed in Saudi Arabia to neutralize the threat Saddam posed to the region. Our presence in Saudi (part of our essential commitment to preserving the peace) irritated the international Muslim community. In fact, Osama bin Laden cited our presence in Saudi Arabia as the casus belli for war against America in general and 9-11 specifically.

3. Saddam was contained--but only as a result of the costly military commitments cited above. In addition, Saddam was contained as a result of a United Nations sanctions regime. Before the war, several human rights organizations charged that the heartless US-driven sanctions policy had killed upwards of 500,000 Iraqis through malnutrition and lack of adequate medical attention. Later, we learned of massive corruption on the part of the UN in administering the sanctions against Saddam's Iraq. Moreover, by 2002, the flagging resolve of the French and other European powers threatened the entire sanctions program. Containment was a leaky policy taking on more water every day.

4. Saddam unbound meant a return to the status quo ante bellum in which he had threatened his neighbors and worked assiduously to manufacture and deploy weapons of mass destruction.

5. Saddam and 911. It is a long held article of faith in the mainstream media that "911 and Iraq were not connected." This is nonsense. What they mean to say is that Saddam and his regime were not complicit in the terrorist attacks of 911. Those two statements are not the same. Conflation of these two distinct ideas belies a fundamental misunderstanding of the task that confronts us.

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Posted by: A Waco Farmer
We should be thankful that the Democrats won in November. Seriously.

Accountability in life is everything. Self regulation is the most dangerous of all human delusions.

The political grandstanders in the Senate and House are making fools of themselves pushing for a non-binding resolution to embarrass the President and court favor with the uninformed, nevertheless, the essential process of oversight is finally grinding into gear.

For almost four years, the Bush administration, literally and figuratively, threw good money after bad in Iraq. The November election was the wake-up call they desperately needed. The day after the election, the President tapped soft-spoken but tough-minded Robert Gates to take the reins of the stalled war effort. With Congress breathing down his neck, the President is dispatching David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker to the scene with orders to make immediate progress or else. Both of these men are unorthodox thinkers who criticized privately through proper channels many of the group-think Iraq policies that ultimately failed. They are our best chance at staving off an epoch-ending humiliation.

So many of us love the Civil War analogy. Of course, the tragically non-analogous portion of the comparison is that Lincoln ferociously prosecuted the war from the beginning, challenging and firing his subordinates until he found an Edwin Stanton and U.S. Grant relatively early on. We have waited four years for this change.

In a nutshell: Congressional oversight is necessary to win; Congressional posturing and purely political maneuvering is lethal. Congress needs to ask tough questions, hold feet to the fire, but they also need to commit to winning regardless of the potential for partisan or individual political gain.