I got to see some snippets of the debates last night in New Hampshire. The Republicans (other than Ron Paul) all seemed to talk about Iraq in terms of how to be successful there in a military sense, and why pulling out was a bad idea. The Democrats clearly tried to out-withdraw each other, one saying the troops should come home, the next saying that the troops should come home and there should be no permanent base there, etc.
Am I the only guy who thinks we need to be more involved in Iraq?
Look, we still have a big base in Germany. It's been a good thing over the last 50 years that we had a base there. It's also a good thing that we were involved with the European economy, and that our culture and our lives are so intertwined.
We have, in this country, a lot of people who are from Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, etc. While lots of people in this country could tell you the name of their favorite place for coffee in Florence, they couldn't name the capital of most of the countries in the Mid-East.
In the debate, and in general, the Republicans have been more willing to talk about the forces that were behind the 9/11 attacks and the continuing threat from Islamist Jihadists. The solution they offer, I fear, stops short of what's needed.
We set up bases in Germany and Japan after WWII because we wanted to stop fascism where it started, but we didn't stop with the bases. We sent cultural, diplomatic, economic and other types of workers public and private. We taught baseball to the Japanese. We learned to love German Engineering.
That's what we need in Iraq. We need a big military base, and we also need Peace Corps volunteers, and we need to teach them baseball, and we need universities with exchange programs there. The list goes on and on, but the last thing we need is to try to pull everything out.