The President and his administration state that, to leave Iraq
precipitously would create more chaos in the middle-east, would result in a loss of credibility with respect to the Unites States and would encourage terrorist states such as Syria and Iran
(as well as North Korea) to intensify their efforts to support and export terror. Moreover, the inevitable civil war in Iraq
would result in even more instability in the region. This would conceivably translate into greater danger to this country.
They are right.
The administration’s critics assert that continuing our present activities in Iraq spreads our resources too thin, preventing us from giving meaningful attention to terrorist-supporting states such as Iran, Syria, and even Saudi Arabia, and from focusing on the Israel-Palestinian quagmire, endangering the only true democracy in the region. This is to say nothing of the killed and wounded Americas engaged in Iraq, as well as the thousands of civilian Iraqis. As to civil war in Iraq, it is upon us now.
They are right, too.
So what is the solution.? It is clear that the administration entered into a war in Iraq based on faulty intelligence or, if one is a cynic, a desire to compensate for presidential low testosterone and a desire to retaliate against an admittedly bad guy who had an issue with Bush the elder. Unfortunately, it is too late to revisit the start of the war. Keeping the focus on how or why we became involved serves only to cloud what we must do now,
It seems to me that we must, first, punish those who got us into this mess and their apologists – through ineptitude or malice – by denying them re-election.
Second, we must choose the lesser of the two unfortunate results. That would be to leave Iraq to its own fate. If the present Iraqi government cannot prevent civil war and create a peaceful society, that has to be its problem. The only unity in Iraq now is the near-universal hatred of America!
The administration claims that it’s goal is to introduce democracy into the region
Bringing democracy to the third world is problematic at best. Democracy will not take root in cultures that have not prepared for it, either through generations of experience (such as the United States) or by imposition on a nation that is well educated and willing (as Japan after 1945). And even if it were possible to create a democratically elected government in this region, it is no guarantee that we will be happy with the result. The Palestinians had a free election and choose a terrorist mob, Hamas. Iran freely elected a terrorist government that is developing nuclear weapons. Lebanon has a parliament in which freely elected representatives are part of Hezbollah.
I have a difficult time in imagining democracy in a culture where people celebrate victory or defeat by shooting bullets straight up into the air; I have a hard time in rationalizing a culture where ski-masks are worn, in desert heat, whenever a gathering is held on a street. These are a culture so far removed from the West that, unless they grow and advance greatly over the near future, there will be no common ground on which to negotiate.
We should leave Iraq to the Iraqi people, civil unrest notwithstanding. We should devote our military and diplomatic power to address and eliminate real terrorists throughout the world. We would find cooperative allies and not be the focus of hatred, everywhere.