Cut the Crap

Predictably, I got my first "enlist" comment in response to my Huffington Post column yesterday.

Time to put your money where your mouth is Bob: enlist.

Of course this is a reference to the anti-war argument used against both hawks and chickenhawks alike. If they like war so much, they should put their ass on the line and enlist. I've used this line of reasoning often, especially during the Bush dark ride.

But let me be perfectly clear. I'm far from being a hawk. I'm anti-war. Specifically, I'm against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I thought I was pretty clear about my position when I wrote:

I don't want an escalation. I don't want more casualties. I don't want more spending when Congress is being miserly on domestic programs. I want the thing to end. I didn't even want it to start in the first place.

But the president's plan contains a direct path to withdrawal -- a plan which he never promised and which we're now getting. That's good news. And so I very reluctantly have taken a "let's see" approach to this plan as a means to ending the war in not only the quickest way possible, but also in a responsible way that could potentially ameliorate a longer crisis involving blowback and loose nukes.

This doesn't make me a hawk, nor a supporter of the war. It makes me a cautious, rational supporter of ending the war as rapidly as possible given the circumstances. That said, my thin support for this plan will expire if the mission begins to deteriorate and creep away from the July, 2011 deadline.

The 30,000 number, meanwhile, is upsetting and somewhat arbitrary (as far as we know), though I refuse to believe that President Obama or anyone around him expected that we would support every nuance of this plan. But the draw down date for 2011 makes the larger troop increase more digestible, if that's possible.

So I resent being targeted as pro-war. It's kneejerk and stupid.