January 11, 2007

The War

Link. It's been a while since I've blogged about the war in Iraq, but that's mostly because there haven't been any major changes. The Iraq Study Group released a report that was ignored by the Administration and then quickly forgotten by the media. President Bush plans an escalation of troops with no clear or new plan that will turn this thing around. Iraqis and US troops keep dying. The country continues to get worse.

I have to say that I'm not gung ho about immediate withdrawl. Lots of folks on the internet, and even some real life friends, have the conviction to steadily and firmly call for pulling our guys out now. I find myself uncharitaristically hesitant though. Mostly it's arguments about the human rights disaster that will absolutely occur when we pull out. Shiite militias *will* band together to round up groups of Sunnis and execute them. A proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran will be fought in Iraq. It will be bloody. It will be awful. It will be our fault. Many arguments for staying that I come across use this inevitable outcome as justification for staying. "We're not making the country better, per se, we're just barely keeping the lid on another Rwanda." Most of these people admit that the country is getting worse and none that I've seen offer any hope that this is going to turn around. If that is the case, all we're doing is slowing the country's decent into anarchy rather than letting it fall in one horrible explosion.

Ok, I understand that argument and it makes a certain amount of sense. The problem is that none of these people offer any timetables or benchmarks for us to look for when the time has finally come to leave. If we're not even expecting things to get better anymore, when will things have gotten bad enough, ever so slowly under our careful watch, that it will be time to leave?


Anonymous said...

I heard a guy on NPR today talking about Bush's speech and what have you. He said that he has almost no confidence that escalating the war will actually work, but he supports it anyway. I didn't hear who the guy was, but if I had to guess based on his views, I'd say he's probably a fellow of some left-leaning policy think tank in Washington.

His attitude is totally baffling to me, all the moreso because it's so wide spread in Washington. The sensible, mainstream, centrist position in the District seems to be to believe that Bush is a terrible President who has been wrong every step of the way, continutes to be wrong now, but we must go along with his plan even though we know it won't work.

There comes a time when you have to put national interest first. We didn't start the civil war in Iraq. We took out Saddam Hussein, and as much as I opposed this war from the very beginning, I have to admit that taking out Saddam Hussein is, at least on an abstract level, a good thing. Yes, we could have and should have done a hell of a lot more to prevent a civil war, but we didn't start it. We're not responsible for it.

In the interest of basic humanitarianism, if there's anything that we can do to help, we should do it. If there isn't, we should leave. From what I can gather listening to the "experts" and the "wise old men", almost no one thinks that there is anything we can do to help, and almost no one thinks we should leave.

That's fucked up.

The fact is that we're going to leave. It won't be until Bush has left office, but we are going to leave. And when we do, Iraq's sectarian problems won't have been solved. Iraq will still descend into a humanitarian disaster of gargantuan proportions. All of that will still happen, whether we leave tomorrow, or in five years, or in ten years, or in twenty years. But the sooner we leave, the fewer American troops will be killed or injured.

At some point, you have to put the national interest first. We have reached that point.

Shawna said...

So, I do not really believe it will have effect.