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The Initial Decision

By Matthew Yglesias

"The Initial Decision"

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Paul Begala looked back at Barack Obama’s list of particulars against McCain’s misjudgments on Iraq policy in 2002-2004 and said: “He thrashed John McCain on Iraq.” It’s too bad, though, that Obama didn’t return back to this point more frequently. Unlike the various tactical ins-and-outs of different people’s ideas about exactly when and where you meet with so-and-so, the initial question about whether or not to invade Iraq implicates big picture strategic considerations.

It’s clear to anyone who bothers to ask him that love of preventive war as a primary tool of non-proliferation policy is integral to McCain’s worldview. He sees one of the main problems with the Iraq War as being that it’s tended to make Americans less eager to embrace that agenda. He fears that we may turn to a candidate, Obama, who doesn’t believe in attacking countries that haven’t attacked us or our allies. He thinks that starting such wars is vital to American security, and that’s why he’s running for president.

In fact, though, people have grown disgruntled with preventive war because the preventive war doctrine has resulted in disaster.

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