We have passed a milestone. Three years ago, coalition forces invaded Iraq
and overthrough Sadaam Hussein’s Baathist regime. That should have been the end of the conflict but it wasn’t. Why are we still embroiled in a conflict that supposedy we won?
The answer is simple:a lack of planning. When Allied forces invaded Europe on June 6,1944 as a precusor to overthrowing Hitler there were already plans on how to rebuild Europe and Germany, who to put on trial for war crimes and a tentative idea of how long allied forces would be there. By 1947, in the zones of occupation held by the United States, Britain and France, rebuilding was well underway, the local population was cooperating with the occupying forces and were well on their way to self government. The same was true in Japan where General Douglas MacArthur had written a constitution and prepared the Japanese people to govern themselves. The plans were already in place.
The Bush administration was so intent on overthrowing Sadaam Hussein that they did not prepare the military or the Iraqi people for the aftermath. I liken Iraq to the republics that made up Yugoslavia after Josip Broz Tito died. AS I write this Iraq is on the verge of civil war and President Bush now says tghat he sees no substantial troop withdrawl until after he leaves office. How nice! Whomever takes office next gets to clean up the mess.
What can be done? As Iraqi military and police units are brought up to par, they should be replacing coalition units in the front lines. We should have advisors to help them but it is time that the Iraqi people stand on their own feet. As they become able to do that our forces should be downsized accordingly. However, we should not arbitrarily cut and run as some have suggested.
We should not tell the Iraqi people what type of government they should have. A democratic replublic is a nice ideal but let’s face it, the Iraqis don’t have a lot of experience in demovratic government. They need a government that suits their situiation, not one that suits ours.
Any soldier commiting war crimes should be swiftly tried and if found guilty,punished severely. the Iraqi people need to know that we actively support human rights and aren’t just telling them “Do as I say, not as I do.” Lastly, we need to show a lot more compassion and understanding to their culture than we have to date. The Iraqis and Islam ias a whole did not perpetrate the atrocities of September 11, 200. We can lay that at Osama bin Laden’s and Al Qaeda’s feet. It’s time to come up with a plan to return Iraq to the Iraqis and get on with the business of bringing Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden to justice.