Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Time to Go
The United States In Iraq

I’ve hemmed and hawed, but today, I read a piece that has helped make my mind up. It is time to leave Iraq. It is awful, it is largely as result of American action that a terrible situation (life under Saddam Hussein) has become a horrific one.

While I never subscribed to the war in Iraq, never thought it was a good idea, I have always believed in the “You Break It- You Bought It” argument. Because we had plunged the people of Iraq into chaos, I thought, we were honor bound to remain until order and civilization was restored.

I have dismissed the “End the War” now cries as those of the well-intentioned peace-niks who live in a world of wonderful ideals, unhampered by ugly reality.

However, as time has gone by, it has seemed that we have less and less chance of fixing what we have broken. (I do not doubt our obligation to the Iraqi people, only our ability to fulfill it.)

I’ve been vacillating for some time now, but today, I read a short piece in the New Republic that helped me make up my mind.

In a piece entitled, Twilight Zone, (which also appeared in the L.A. Times) Jonathan Chait argues that the arguments of Bush’s supporters, as exemplified by Senator Joe Lieberman, are completely out of touch with reality.

Reality, according to Chiat, is that Maliki is owned, heart and soul, by the Shiite faction. The Iraqi Government is riddled with Shiites who are waiting for final revenge against the Sunni’s.

And, at present, our best plan is to train the Iraqi army to take over for us when we leave the country. This means, of course, that we'd be training Maliki’s army of Shiites.

Shiite militias have infiltrated the Iraqi army. We're equipping and training the bad guys. The Shiite militia members who haven't joined the army lay low when our troops patrol Baghdad, so that we fight the Sunnis and leave them standing. As Tom Lasseter of McClatchy Newspapers reported a week and a half ago, "The U.S. military drive to train and equip Iraq's security forces has unwittingly strengthened anti-American Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr's Mahdi Army militia."

That's why Maliki supports the surge. To the extent it succeeds, the surge will do a faster and better job of driving Sunnis out of Baghdad. But why should we want to help him do that?

… If we stop cooperating with one party to a civil war, we can't make things much worse. We might possibly make them better: If we're no longer doing the Shiites' fighting for them, perhaps they'll have to bargain with the Sunnis.

The argument in favor of staying in force is devoid of any actually relation to what is happening on the ground, and boils down to three points: Trust the President; Don’t Backstab the troops by second guessing the mission; and Leaving Equals Failure, according to Chait's piece.

Chait writes:
These aren't arguments to support Bush's strategy, they're generic pro-war arguments. Change a few details and these lines could support Napoleon's invasion of Russia or the Crusader occupation of Jerusalem or almost any war. Generic pro-war arguments may be trite, but that's what you turn to when you've given up on reality.

However, in my belief that we could do any good at all by remaining to restore order, it seems increasingly true that I, as well, need to adjust my perception of reality.

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