So the recent news is that some British soldiers are being pulled out of Iraq. According to Tony Blair and President Bush this is a good thing, a sign of success in the region they were stationed.
According to certain politicians and pundits, however, this is actually bad for the President. They make hay of the irony of the British troops pulling out at the same time as Bush wants to send more American soldiers.
So which is it? Is it a positive thing that should make Bush look good or is it a negative thing that should make Bush look bad? I'll bet your answer to that question would be very easy to predict by anyone who knows you well, which leads me to make a couple of points.
First, why is everything viewed through the lens of politics? Why is it that when dealing with the facts of the British pulling out of Iraq the single most important thing on everyone's mind is how it reflects on Bush and his policies? Can't we just call a spade a spade sometimes?
Second, doesn't it trouble you that your answer to the question I posed would be so easy to predict? What does that tell you about yourself and the countless others (including me more often than I'd like) who don't seem to have the capability for original thought.
Finally, doesn't it bother you that we have two primary groups of pundits, politicians and people who have squared off against each other over the Iraq situation. The pro-war side is adamant about their position. To them there must be success in Iraq because that will prove that they were right. The anti-war side is equally adamant about their position. To them there must be failure in Iraq because that will prove that they were right. The one side can't afford to have us lose in Iraq and the other side can't afford to have us win. And what is the primary motivation behind both sides? You guessed it: politics. The winners (of the political game, not the war in Iraq) get all kinds of political points and the losers (of the political game, not the war in Iraq) get to hang their heads in shame. Long term issues like national security, what it means to be a good citizen of the world and, gasp, what's best for Iraq and other places like it don't seem to really matter much.
For an example of what we should be doing, by which I mean thoughtful, reasoned and civil debate, head over and check out a debate between Frank Gaffney and Tony Campolo on the campus of Eastern University. Just scroll down till you find the links from February 19 2007.