One trend that disturbs me in some recent Democratic positioning, most notably in some of Obama’s ads and his convention speech, is the idea that we should be somehow resentful of Iraqis. His ads talk about how we’re spending $10 billion a month in Iraq while they sit on an oil surplus. I wonder what credible charge this could express. If we were taking $10 billion a month from the Iraqis, we’d be hearing cries of “no blood for oil,” and “imperialism” from any genuine liberal. The damage that we’ve done to Iraq, the number of lives lost, seems to outweigh $10 billion a month.
On this limited issue, I think pro-war commentators are often closer to the truth than mainstream individuals who are (now) against the Iraq war. When we chose to invade Iraq, we acquired a moral obligation to commit our resources to the benefit of Iraq, even if that invasion was immoral. As Powell crudely put it “you break it, you buy it.” The harsh truth is that the taxes American citizens pay are of lesser moral importance than the fate of Iraq.
The question now is not whether the war is too expensive, or in our narrow interest, but how our actions are likely to impact Iraq. I think the questions bring us to the same answer, but it’s still a type of pandering to exploit resentment towards the Iraqi oil surplus.