I don’t consider myself an expert on Iraq, but I do have some thoughts on the subject. I don’t plan to discuss whether or not we should be there, or how we got into this mess in the first place (George Tenet’s new book may help to answer some of those kinds of questions). Instead, I want to share some thoughts on the reality on the ground, and what consequences our actions now might have for the future. I also want to explore the subject of our possible actions in Iraq from a moral and ethical point of view, something that I feel is missing among all the rhetoric. Bear in mind that I am firmly against war, unless absolutely necessary to protect our citizens from a clear and present danger. I was in the Army during the Viet Nam era, and came very close to going over there. Despite my aversion to war, I firmly believe that once we are in a war, we have to see it through, distasteful as it may be.
The fact is, we destabilized Iraq by our invasion. Terrible as Saddam was, he kept the country from dividing into factions. I believe Saddam could have been contained, and didn’t have to be eliminated. Now Humpty Dumpty is broken, and all of Bush’s horses and all of Bush’s men, can’s put Humpty together again (so far).
If we pull out troops before the nation is stabilized, we will have done something immoral and unethical to the people of Iraq who have already suffered enough with Saddam and now the instability precipitated by the United States.
Too bad, you might say. They are doing it to themselves. The fact is, most of the terrorist acts are caused, as I understand it, by outside sources. Iran’s proxies are the Shiite terrorists, and Al-Qaida’s proxies are the Sunni terrorists (bin Laden is a Sunni). Most of the terrorist acts are done by a relatively few people, most of whom are not Iraqi, and most of whom are under the control of Iran, Al Qaida, and other groups. Most Iraqis want to get on with their lives and live in peace, free of the tyranny of Saddam and free of the anarchy that currently exists. Contrary to what some are saying, this is not a civil war. It is a policy of attrition by way of terrorism, influenced by non-Iraqis as mentioned above. To abandon the people of Iraq to a potentially terrible future would be a horrific injustice. More on this in a future blog.