The plan for what comes after Iraq

Boston Globe
by Andrew J. Bacevich

02/24/08

The issue that ought to occupy center stage in the 2008 presidential campaign is not US policy toward Iraq but US policy after Iraq. ‘After’ in this context does not mean that Iraq is now receding in America’s rearview mirror; the conflict there will continue for years to come. ‘After’ means that, like it or not, dealing with the war’s consequences will rank near the top of the next president’s agenda. One such consequence is this: the United States finds itself without a set of viable and morally coherent principles to guide decisions regarding the use of force. The United States once adhered to principles that were both sound and eminently straightforward. As recently as the 1970s and 1980s, the so-called Vietnam syndrome exercised a restraining influence. Americans saw military power as something to be husbanded. The preference was to use force as a last resort, employed to defend vital interests. Overt aggression qualified as categorically wrong...

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Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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