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Nation building ‘not worth it’

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David Harsanyi’s column today reopens a debate the Right still needs to have over future wars and military occupations. Because if we haven’t learned the lesson now, I don’t know if we ever will.

Our last combat troops have finally left Iraq, having been sent there with justifications numerous, varied, and often inconsistent. The adventure came at great financial and human cost, and the results are not unambiguously satisfactory, to put it mildly.

The question we need to ask is whether we really want to do something like that again. It’s a question that Republican candidates for Congress should be asking themselves right now, because they may be faced with this very decision in a few years:

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Decent people, no doubt, are pleased to hear that the Iraqi people are doing well. If war makes us more secure, why only Iraq and not Yemen? Or Iran? Or Cuba? Doesn’t everyone deserve to live in freedom? Do not all people deserve to own cell phones and have a decent garbage disposal system?

Or do we reserve those perks for those who pretend to have WMD?

The question isn’t whether nation building can work. It probably can. The question is whether it was worth it.



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