OK, that’s it – I’m done. And I hope and pray the Prez and all those advisors who have been pushing a “stay the course” strategy in Iraq will soon finally admit that they’re done, too. It’s time to face the fact that even the best intentions – and in this case, our intentions were VERY good indeed – have to be tempred with a healthy dose of reality.
It’s time to get our troops out of Iraq.
With the escalating, horrific sectarian violence of the past two days – violence that has resulted in more than 200 deaths and, just this past day, the burnings of six innocent Shiite worshippers whose only crime was to want to worship their God in the vicinity of Sunni militamen, I think even the most optimistic observer would have to admit that Iraq has careened out of control and beyond our ability to restore anything resembling peace. I suppose every camel’s back is susceptible to that extra straw, and in this case, this most recent round of volence has served as that straw, as far as I’m concerned.
* It’s time to get out of Iraq and let the chips fall where they may.
* It’s time to proclaim that any foreign military excursion on our part is only worth it as long as there’s a willingness on the part of the people our troops are fighting and dying for to support our mission.
* It’s time to admit that both Iraq’s government and its people do not want peace and democracy as much as we want them to have it.
What is it that has brought me to this point? What finally made “dawn break over Marblehead” and bring me to my own personal “come to Jesus” moment when it comes to Iraq?
Simply, it was Free Republic poster “truth_seeker”, who, commenting on this post, hit both the nail, and me, upside the head with an observation so succinct and so obvious, I only wish I had come to that conclusion on my own (my boldings):
We have shed 3,000 lives to give these people freedom and democracy.
This is what they are doing with it.
Too bad Dubya didn’t know in advance of his experiment, that arab muslims are culturally and religiously incapable of civil, peaceful democratic self-rule.
I understand why he was so committed to the experiment. It was his compassionate side.
They behave in Iraq today as they have behaved throughout the region, for hundreds of years. Saddam fit right into the cultural context.
The acts ordered by Saddam differ little from these we are witnessing by both sides of the “new Iraq.” The free, democratic, unified, multicultural Iraq.
And this comment, by fellow “Freeper”, “Running Wolf”:
I hate to say it but this nation was a pressure cooker of violence that was kept in check only because Saddam was even more ruthless than his subjects.
I doubt we could stop it with even 350,000 troops on ground. This will run its course until most of the protagonists, inurgents, militias etc. kill themselves off.
Hopefully during this time leaders who love Iraq and its people will emerge to take it from the brink of destruction, and out of the hands of Iran.
If there was one weakness displayed by both the President and Secretary of State Rice throughout this time, it was their idealism and their view that the Iraqi people not only thirsted for democracy, but would do whatever it took on their part to foster it once we had helped them establish it. I can’t blame W. and Condoleezza for that – hell, I respect them a hell of a lot more for sticking with it as long as they have, as opposed to “cut and run” Democrats like John Kerry and John Murtha who put politics – not to mention their own political hides – ahead of the mission, with no concern for the health and safety of our troops.
(In some ways, what we are seeing now in Iraq is a direct result of Kerry’s and Murtha’s ill-advised proclamations, and the shameful “all negative, all the time” reporting of the mainstream press, virtually from Day 1 – both of which have not only weakened our nation’s resolve, but in the face of same, have emboldened the insurgency to redouble its own efforts.)
There’s nothing to be ashamed of in admitting at this point that the proper course of action is to withdraw our troops immediately. Regardless of whether it’s us or the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds, there’s a lot of killing that needs to be done in order to extract the cancer that lies at the core of Iraq’s escalating violence. A lot of bastards and innocents alike are going to have to die in the days ahead in order to put Iraq right (whatever in the end “right” means), and I’d rather it was Iraqi-on-Iraqi doing that killing and dying as opposed to us.
And there’s nothing wrong in proclaiming that, at least to a certain extent, our efforts in Iraq have been successful. The threat to the U.S., Iraq’s Kurds, and Iraq’s neighbors in the region in the person of Saddam Hussein has been eradicated, along with any remaining vestige of his nuclear and biochemical aspirations, and that’s a good thing. And I don’t want to hear anything about by our leaving that any of our soldiers deployed over there have died in vain – in fact, the Iraqi excursion and – let’s call it for what it is – its ultimate failure, is, in my view, one of the most noble actions this country has ever undertaken, and one whose legacy will stand the test of time.
Would it have been nice to see Iraq fulfill all the dreams of democracy and stability hoped for by the President when he first issued the order to commence hostile action? Absolutely. Did the Iraqi regime at the time we invaded pose a threat to the stability of the region and, through Saddam Hussein, a threat to the Iraqi people? Absolutely. Did the government of Iraq portray itself as far more hostile and a threat than it actually was by foolishly thumbing its nose at the UN and its nuclear inspection teams? Absolutely. Therefore, the invasion of Iraq was both warranted and, in my view, the correct thing to do at the time.
The problem is that democracy, under even the most favorable of circumstances, takes both time and patience, neither of which the Iraqi government and our nation have at the present time. Anyone looking at this history of this country, this so-called “shining city upon a hill”, would tell you that. It not only took a good century to work out all the regional and cultural differences that existed when the Declaration of Independence was signed, but hundreds of thousands of casualties, on hundreds of battlefields, to make that happen. Unfortunately, Iraq is going to have to go through that necessary – and violent – cleansing action, and it shouldn’t be our troops having to do any more killing and dying than they’ve already been called upon to do, and done, with bravery, valor, and honor.
It’s time to let the chips fall where they may.
It’s time to pull our troops out of Iraq.
One final note: Rather than pull our forces completely out of Iraq, I wouldn’t be opposed to us maintaining whatever military presence was necessary in order to protect the Kurds, since as a people, they’re the only ones who have overwhelming and continually supported our mission from the outset – oftentimes at their own peril. As a result, they deserve both our continued respect and protection.
UPDATE 11/25/06 1:40 PM MST: Appears I’m not the only who shares my “Kurdish repositioning” final note. Mario Loyola in today’s National Review Online Corner links to this “this excellent and provocative piece by former Under Secretary of Defense for Comptroller Dov Zakheim, in today’s Miami Herald”, part of which contains the following recommendations:
* Focus on preserving stability in the region rather than on more elusive (and illusionary) goals relating to governance in Iraq.
* Recognize that Iraq is in the midst of a bloody civil war that the United States cannot bring to an end.
* Propose that instead of pouring more American blood and treasure into embattled Baghdad and Anbar provinces, we reposition our forces to Kurdistan to prevent a conflagration between Turks and Kurds; to the Shiite south and the Iranian border to limit Tehran’s influence; and to the West to limit Syrian meddling and help protect the Jordanian border.
Here’s hoping incoming Secretary of Defense Gates is thinking along those same lines.