I received this exchange in email between our very own Offworld and a man whom I shall name Simplicio (HT Galileo). This states the case so well I deemed it worthy of front page publication.
I would like for someone to explain to me how Iraq is ground zero for the war on Terrorism. It seems to me that terrorism directed towards the US is simply the result of our mideast policies. If we want to avoid terrorism we have only to withdraw from the mideast. And thereby save the billions we are spending to set up our home defenses.
Blaming the victim is easy but it is wrong. When the victim blames his or herself, it only invites the continuation of violence.
In principle, I would prefer that we not engage in these foreign adventures -- I would prefer that we trade with everyone and not make war. History leaves us with a complicated mess though and our past policies are only one little piece of the picture. Pulling out of the Middle East, in the sense of not defending our interests there, is quite unrealistic for the next twenty years at least and would require us to build a lot of nuclear power facilities. Also we can not leave Israel all on its own. If we cannot stick up for our allies, then our alliance means nothing. How do we wish to be perceived? This is not about how we feel about ourselves based on others' opinions but rather of strategic importance. Other nations and peoples will deal with us accordingly.
We should be no greater friend, and no worse enemy. We should be slow to fight but fearless once roused. We should be magnanimous in victory. We should be open and generous yet keenly aware and defensive of our interests. When we have failed in any of these respects as we did in Yalta and Vietnam, the effects have been disastrous for ourselves and for others. Above all, we should not be feckless and fickle as this will invite disorder, chaos and violence upon us and many other good people in the world.
Evil exists and will continue to operate whether we stay home or not.