Making Sense

Alan Grayson is probably the freshman Congressman who has most impressed me. The man works his ass off and takes his position seriously. He’s conducted some of the most grueling examinations of the administrators bailouts at Treasury and recipients of bailout money. Now, in an interview in Vanity Fair, Grayson is making sense on Iraq. He had previously made a statement to the New York Times about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that raised eyebrows:

“There is no need in the 21st century to do this, to make us safe. This is a 19th-century strategy being played out at great expense in both money and blood in the 21st century, in the wrong time at the wrong place.”

Vanity Fair started their interview on this subject.

Alan Grayson: The reason why I said what I said is because the fundamental goal of our endeavors in Iraq and Afghanistan is supposed to be to protect us. That’s why we call the Defense Department the Defense Department, because it’s supposed to defend America. And whatever the perceived threat may be, whether it’s al-Qaeda or the Taliban or otherwise, only by the most incredibly convoluted Bushian logic could you possibly get to the point where you conclude that as a result of that threat we should spend $100 billion a year and send over 100,000 of our young men and women abroad, 8,000 miles away, and that that is an effective way to accomplish that goal. It doesn’t make any sense.

Life does not consist of a Risk board game, where you try to occupy every space on the planet. There’s no other country that does this, there’s no other country that seeks to occupy foreign countries 8,000 miles from their own border, and believe that that somehow accomplishes anything useful. It doesn’t. If in fact it’s important to our national security to keep al-Qaeda or the Taliban under control, there are far more effective ways of accomplishing that goal, if that is in fact the goal, than to extend this kind of money and this kind of blood.

This is something that Democrats said when they were in the opposition repeatedly, and that truth hasn’t changed at all just because we elected a president. You can always find some kind of excuse to do what you want to do anyway, but I have to wonder why a new Democratic president wants to do something like this. This is a president who has recognized the immorality of torture, and I’m waiting for him to recognize the immorality of war and foreign occupation.

It’s clear that two things Grayson possess in spades is moral clarity and the courage of his convictions. These are bold words for a Congressman who’s part of a caucus that has consistently voted to continue to fund both wars. Grayson is seriously trying to move the Overton Window on both Iraq and Afghanistan. Even in this interview, though, you can see the journalist from Vanity Fair, Christopher Bateman, taking a confrontational position against Grayson, lobbying repeated pieces of the Beltway’s ever-evolving Conventional Wisdom on the whys and hows of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Grayson’s rebuttals to Bateman’s premises are truly powerful and worthy of a detailed reading.

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