Friday, July 01, 2005
Will the end justify the means?
|This is a quote from Oxblog. |
The foundation of Tim's argument is a fascinating observation made by LBJ in 1966. On the subject of Vietnam, the President told Gene McCarthy that
"Well I know we oughtn't to be there, but I can't get out. I just can't be the architect of surrender.... I'm willing to do damn near anything. If I told you what I was willing to do, I wouldn't have any program. [Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett] Dirksen wouldn't give me a dollar to operate the war. I just can't operate in a glass bowl with all these things. But I'm willing to do nearly anything a human can do, if I can do it with any honor at all."
FYI, Tim is the head honcho of the presidential recordings project here at UVA, which has done a remarkable job of editing and publishing some of the most valuable archival material left behind by some of America's greatest presidents.
Please go and read the entire discussion because "Tim" asks the question as to what Bush might do if he were made a similar offer.
David ends with this question:
Yet still Tim thinks that we should declare victory, go home and risk letting Iraq become another terrorist base camp, like Afghanistan before 9/11. I guess my question for Tim is, what would it take to make him believe that the lives and courage of our soldiers in Iraq are being lost for a noble cause, rather than wasted in a quagmire?
In my mind this "noble cause" involved killing a leader (a very horrible despote) and installing our form of government, Democracy, which I totally believe in. I find myself caught in the "does the end justify the means" ethical discussion. I think this is the problem for many people. And will Democracy truly be the end result? We believe. We hope the Iraqis believe. There are no guarantees. We started it and we will be responsible for the result no matter what happens.