Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A False Solution to Iraq

An e-mail I received from Senator Ted Kennedy caught my eye today because unlike most Democratic mailings of late which have focused on domestic policies, this one was all about Iraq. Here’s the meat (red and all):

The situation in Iraq demands an exit strategy, and it's essential for the President to explain to the nation what his exit strategy is.

No one should fall into the Republican trap of saying disengagement is defeat. The truth is the opposite: disengagement is part of the solution in Iraq. Our overwhelming military presence and our open-ended military commitment are part of the problem. They fuel the insurgency, offer a false crutch for the Iraqi government, undermine our respect in the world, and make the war on terrorism harder to win.

Yet President Bush is preparing to spend the month of August traveling throughout the United States, defending the war in cities and towns across the country. Despite what he'll say to handpicked GOP crowds at his "events," two simple facts remain: there were no WMD's in Iraq, and Saddam Hussein was not part of 9/11.

Enough is enough. The American people don't want our troops bogged down endlessly in Iraq, defending the same failed strategy. Help me send a clear message to President Bush: the Iraqi people have elected a democratic government, and it's time for American troops to begin to come home.

Kennedy was writing on behalf of The One America Committee not the Democratic Party, but I hardly think it’s a stretch to assume his words accurately represent the mainstream view within the party. And that’s a problem. Here’s two reasons why:

1) If believing we could create a vibrant, peaceful democracy in Iraq was a pie-in-the-sky idea, then believing that our withdrawal will solve most problems in Iraq is an even deeper vein of delusion. Our presence surely causes problems but our absence would clearly cause a great deal more problems. Plus, should we choose to leave, how long before we have to go back in? Or do Kennedy and others think that a highly unstable, terrorist-full nation sitting on a ridiculous amount of oil will never threaten our security again?

2) Regardless of how big a mistake going into Iraq was or how dishonest the selling of the war may have been, those are no longer the issues facing us. That’s not to say they are unimportant to the debate, just that they are unimportant to the solution. If a drunk driver smashes up your car, repeatedly pointing out that the driver was drunk is not going to fix your car.

In the end, the “let’s get out and to hell with Iraq” is not an honest solution. It’s pandering, both to America’s isolationist instincts and to a leftist base intent on ensuring the Iraq venture is a failure. Yes, there’s a lot of good reasons to believe going into Iraq was a colossal blunder, but there are very few reasons to actively seek our failure there.

Because, truth is, our failure is Iraq’s tragedy. There is no morally defensible argument for driving another nation into near chaos and then abandoning them before stability is restored. Whether or not we as individual Americans think going into Iraq was noble or foolish, we as a nation now have the collective moral duty to continue sacrificing our treasure and our blood for Iraq and its people.

Add to that the very significant possibility that abandoning Iraq would, in the long run, create greater security threats for our own people, and I don’t see how Kennedy and the majority of his party can see “get out” as the appropriate solution.

The question shouldn’t be stay or leave. The question should be, what’s the best way to achieve a stable, generally peaceful Iraq? Is it more troops? Is it prostrating ourselves in front of the international community, admitting our stupidity and then begging for help? Is it demanding more sacrifices on the home front? I don’t know. But any of those would be more acceptable to “get out now.”

Unfortunately, the Democrats seem intent on forcing the voters into choosing between their total retreat and Bush’s stubborn “stay the course, it’s going pretty well.” I really wish we had another choice.

2 Comments:

Blogger Clint said...

Pulling our troops from Iraq does not mean abandoning them. The idea is that you pull US troops out of Iraq, bring in the UN/international force to oversee reconstruction, and the US can send funds to help rebuild and develop.

Will this happen? Probably not because it would require, essentially, an apology and a plea to the UN/world.

Kennedy is essentially right. Possibly the single biggest problem is that the US troops are there. For some reason (rolls eyes), the people in the Middle East aren't too happy with us and will always oppose our presence in their lands.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I think I agree with your points, I feel the Iraq war was a huge failure and we went in on false allegations, have had many of our soldierss killed, and we've created small terrorist groups there but still I don't think leaving is the answer. I feel bad our troops are dying everyday but I also feel bad for the people there who would be left without protection during what is pretty much a civil war and if we left it would just get worse for the people and it would be pretty much be a hell on Earth. However I am also angry about the whole "stay the course" line. Yes we should stay but how about actually coming up with new strategies and such and not just staying the course and have the same thing day after day? If we just follow what we've been doing for the past 3 years we will only continue to see death of our soldiers and deaths of civilians and a growth in small time terrorist groups. We have to stay but also how about actually trying to come up with ideas so that we don't lose any more of our soldiers lives?

2:55 AM  

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