Thursday, August 30, 2007

Voting on Iraq

Here's a link to the Register's editorial endorsing the idea of having a referendum on California's February ballot on the Iraq war. The two houses of the legislature (which can place initiatives on the ballot without collecting signatures, which I'm not sure I support, but . . .) have passed different versions, so once they're reconciled it will be up to Schwarzenegger to sign it or not. We think he should.

The closest thing to a substantial argument we've heard against even placing it on the ballot is that it would hurt the troops' morale (I heard it at length on the phone today from an old WW II vet who is actually one of my favorite people). I think that's balderdash still, and in a way something of an insult to the troops. For starters, plenty of them have doubts about the war -- else why would Ron Paul have raised more money from active-duty military people than any other GOP candidate? And the notion that they would turn into quivering blobs of self-pitying protoplasm just because California had a non-binding referendum on the war on the ballot strikes me as ludicrous. They've got much more important (and potentially deadly) things to worry about.

Some say a referendum would be just like another meaningless opinion poll. I think an actual vote by all who decide to turn out, rather than a selected sample of 1,000 or so likely voters would have more impact. And who knows, it might help to stir up the wide-ranging discussion on the war -- and foreign policy going forward? --the American people didn't really engage in before it started.

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