Right versus Left, versus Right versus Right
The post-Petraeus report period is a great example of how hard it is to have a serious discussion about something as important as a war, when one or both sides have made up their minds beforehand and won't be budged.
It's also a pretty good example of how hard it is to have a serious discussion with a bunch of screaming loonies in pink tutus and tiaras in the room.
The differences between the Hard Left and the Right are exciting and attractive to a news media that thrives on sensationalism.
One the one side you have people who see America as a corrupt country, fatally flawed from it's origins.
On the other, people who see America as a great country with serious flaws - not the least of which is the presence of privileged elites who despise the country that made them some of the most fortunate individuals in the history of mankind by any objective standard.
What's getting lost in all the excitement, is the debate between the supporters and opponents of the attempted pacification of Iraq on the conservative and libertarian Right.
I refuse to call these positions "pro-war" and "anti-war." Nobody but a Nietchean lunatic is "for" war. The question is, is war at this time and place the worst alternative?
And here we see where the two sides stand, for reasons both principled and patriotic.
One side argues that Iraq has become the primary battleground of the West against jihadism.
From this point of view, even if it is conceded that invading and trying to rebuild Iraq along Western lines was a mistake, the argument is irrelevant. Rather like arguing that it would have been better to have invaded Europe at Calais, rather than Normandy in the Second World War. One the di is cast, we don't get do-overs.
The opposing view on the Right can be summarized, that we are not contributing to our future security by spending our treasure and the lives of our finest young men, attempting (in the words of an English friend) "to civilize people who cannot be civilized."
Unlike the America-hating Left, this view comes from love of this country and the civilization of which it is the finest exemplar.
And it's not that I necessarily think they are wrong - it's that I am terribly afraid that they might be right. If so, God help us all. Then this war will go on with no end in sight.
I wonder how many of them have considered that this must follow from their position, if indeed they are right?