Monday, February 19, 2007

Iraq - some history

The Iraq war is, admittedly, a bit of a quagmire. I am personally upset with the actions of Congress lately who seem to see the Iraq situation as a blank check for propping up their political careers.

Somehow cutting and running just seems wrong, but on the other hand what will happen if we stay the course? Do the American people have the stomach for sticking it out as long as it takes? Fed a steady diet of demoralization from the Media and the leaders in Congress it doesn't seem likely.

All I seem to hear, on both sides of the issue, are sound bites. Emotional appeals are completely trumping an honest examination of the situation. I guess that's the society we live in. Give it to me in 5 minutes or don't bother me. Guess that goes for Iraq as well.

Enough whining, let's dig a little. How about a little Iraq history lesson for starters. And you might be surprised at the conclusion given what you think you know about me.


Rick Duck said...

So, what is your conclusion that will surprise us?

Rick Duck said...

I dunno if the first one was posted, but I decided to add on to my first response. Here it is:

Well, do you agree with the conclusion? I know we agree that the future of the United States must involve a high level of energy independence, or at the very least a lack of dependence on fossil fuels from the Middle East.

But what about democracy? What about the Middle East outside of any oil interests? What do we say to the millions if Iraqis that voted in the elections and risked their lives to do so?

"Hey, umm... we've arranged it so we don't need your oil anymore. Good luck with that whole genocide and regional war thing we helped get you into. Thanks for standing up with us until we could get out safely. Later!"

Are they ready to try a democracy of some kind if we assist with the security and leg up they need? Or is it back to corruption, oppression, fascism and sectarian bloodshed no matter what we do?

I don't claim to have the answers either. It certainly has no easy answer.


Dan G said...

I was talking about the conclusion that the author draws at the end. I don't know whether I agree or not, I just wanted to point out that even though I consider myself a "right-wing" guy I'm trying to examine all viewpoints rather than just following the crowd.

As for your second set of questions... What if Edwin Black and others are right? If so we do need to know when to fold 'em. Doggedly pressing forward doesn't make any sense if the goal is unattainable. But I don't think anyone can truly say whether or not it's unattainable. No one has a crystal ball in this situation.

As such, I really think we should allow the President and his new leaders the opportunity to try. Whether or not we made mistakes, we owe something to the Iraqi people.

And here's the important thing. To the extent mistakes were made they were made by nearly EVERYONE. Everyone believed there were WMD's. The resolutions passed nearly unanimously. All this posturing on the hill, hanging Bush out to dry, is completely disengenuous and reprehensible. Let's all take responsibility for this and try to do the best we can instead of taking advantage of it for political gain.

Rick Duck said...

The author ends with the following paragraph: "The only way to succeed in Iraq is to survive long enough to intelligently withdraw, and then rapidly—at breakneck speed—develop alternative energy resources to detach us from this far-off place where we are not wanted, where we should not be, and upon which our industrialized world is now dependent."

I agree with 90% of his conclusions. But what he doesn't explain in this short summary is what "intelligently withdraw" means. That is the crux of the debate! Of course we cannot commit to keeping 100,000 troops on the ground in Iraq indefinitely or permanently. But what are the conditions for withdrawal?

Perhaps after we have dealt with our own dependence on foreign energy along with the corruption, problematic political and military ties that come with it, we will be able to engage the Middle East with fresh eyes in a more responsible and morally clear manner.

So, what does "intelligently withdraw" mean to you? We may not know if it is attainable, but we should know what it looks like. Thats the only way we can tell if we've gotten there.

I suppose I'll answer my own question in a later post.