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Pete Buttigieg on War & Peace

 

 


Don't let Iraq war supporters plan Venezuela invasion

Buttigieg fired on Trump foreign policy official John Bolton, who has long advocated and defended the invasion of Iraq. (Buttigieg served during the war in Afghanistan.). "I don't understand how somebody leading us into the Iraq war is allowed that near the situation room to begin with," Buttigieg said in an answer about conflict in Venezuela, where Bolton has suggested military force could be an option.

Bolton was an early supporter of the Iraq War and pushed for the initial invasion during his time, after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as President George W. Bush's undersecretary of State for arms control and international security.

Source: CNN KFile on 2019 SXSW conference in Austin , Mar 11, 2019

Pull troops out of Afghanistan, but not Syria

Buttigieg says his experience serving as a Navy intelligence officer in Afghanistan helped shaped his views. Buttigieg supports pulling troops out of Afghanistan, but has criticized Trump's plans to withdraw from Syria.
Source: PBS Newshour on 2020 Democratic primary , Feb 15, 2019

Afghanistan war was "outsourced" to the few in uniform

[After 9/11], little was said about personal sacrifice at home for the purpose of winning a national conflict. Kids in World War II saved tinfoil from gum wrappers for the war effort, women reused nylon stockings as many times as possible, and everyone then knew why they were being asked to pay much higher taxes. This time around, it seemed that the war effort was wholly outsourced to those few Americans who served in uniform. America tripped over itself to salute them, without seeming to consider the possibility that civilians, too, could accept some risk or pay some contribution into the cause of freedom.

We might have had, in those years, a more serious conversation about what each of us owes to the country in a time of conflict.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p. 49 , Feb 12, 2019

Not realistic to demand "with us or with the terrorists"

Soon president [Buh in 2002] was telling us that "either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists," a dictum impossible for America to uphold or enforce in the case of Pakistan and many other states playing the three-dimensional chess game of geopolitics in the Islamic world. Next it was an "Axis of Evil," and so on. For the home front, the message was that we would be kept safe through the deployment of force and the acceptance of some encroachments on our freedom and privacy. And also, for some reason, we would need to invade Iraq.

Democrats, unsure of themselves, were afraid to sound like an opposition at all, and many carefully avoided opposing the Iraq War for fear of looking unpatriotic. (Some, particularity Hillary Clinton, would come to regret this posturing.) Instead they tried to change the subject, emphasizing Social Security and Medicare, even though global security was the dominant issue of our moment--even in Indiana.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p. 50 , Feb 12, 2019

2002 Iraq War made no strategic sense, even if WMDs existed

[In 2002] our president declared that Saddam Hussein must disarm his chemical and biological weapons, and vow, "If he won't do so voluntarily we will disarm him."

The tough talk was rousing, but it made no strategic sense. Saddam was a notoriously sinister dictator whose top priority, as with all dictators, was his own survival. It followed that he viewed his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons (as most of us believed he had) as an insurance policy to keep him in power. He would only part with them voluntarily if it would benefit his personal security--an unlikely course for someone who did not trust America. But actually using them would almost certainly lead to his destruction, so he had every reason to sit on his weapons if he had them. The only scenario where he might use them would be if he had nothing to lose by doing so--and now by invading, we were poised to create that very situation.

He didn't have any WMDs--and so they were not there to be used against American troops.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p. 51-2 , Feb 12, 2019

2002: opposed Iraq War because believed WMDs would be used

It turns out that most of us, for and against the war, were wrong about the Saddam's WMDs. He didn't have any--and so they were not there to be used against American troops.

Iraq fell quickly, and for a moment it seemed that the invasion was a vindication of American intervention abroad. Protesters like me looked foolish. Sure, the pretext for war was actually false, but who could quibble over that, as a brutal dictatorship was being turned into a model democracy at relatively little cost to America?

Then the suicide bombings began. We were not, as the administration had promised, "greeted as liberators." A well-functioning democracy did not emerge. And the ensuing chaos made it clear that the administration had not planned for the aftermath of the invasion, as Iraqi cities became a kill zone for our troops. We who were against the invasion had been wrong about the weapons, but right about the war. The administration had been wrong about both.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p. 52 , Feb 12, 2019

Other candidates on War & Peace: Pete Buttigieg on other issues:
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Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
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Page last updated: May 04, 2019