Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Then What?

I'm going to climb up atop my blogging soapbox for a moment. CNN was running footage of anti-war protests this morning, and as I was working on my second cup of instant coffee I watched scenes of people yelling in support of bringing our troops home and ending the war. The news network took the opportunity to outline the Presidential candidates' stances on pulling the U.S. forces out of Iraq. Here's a news flash for you; the only people that want the U.S troops to pull out are 1) the insurgents, and 2) people who have never actually been here.

Oh sure, all of the candidates themselves have all been here, but does anyone seriously think they're not just simply echoing the wishes of their perspective voters for political expediency? It's politically stylish to hold up a sign on the street corner or yell at a public gathering demanding the return of U.S. forces from Iraq, and an end to the illegal war, etc... All very chic, very 1960's.

Ask the troops that are serving over here. The vast, vast majority of them are in favor of staying here and finishing the job that they were sent to do, the job that 4,000 of their friends died for. I've never meet a soldier that doesn't believe deep in his or her soul that being here is the right thing to do. Sure they want to go home and see their families or go to a football game, but that is very different from not believing in the underlying purpose of their presence.

If you spend more than ten minutes in Iraq it's easy to see what will happen when the U.S. forces are prematurely withdrawn from this country. This country will devolve into another Lebanon, but on a massive scale. Hundreds of thousands of people will loose their lives because you've removed the only force capable of barely keeping a lid on the violence that is threatening to explode across Iraq. Trust me when I tell you that the Government of Iraq is no where near ready nor capable to accomplish that feat. The brutal truth is that the Iraqi central government is only a loose coalition of political agendas and is decades away from being able to fairly and freely govern this country to a degree necessary to heal the sectarian divisions.

So here we have our Presidential candidates laying politically expedient plans on the table for the unconditional or accelerated withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Why does no one ask them what they believe Iraq will look like after their plans have been implemented? That's the ugly truth that no one wants to talk about. Someone should make a sign that questions, "Then what?"


Anonymous said...

Great article. I put a link up to it at both of my sites. As usual, you did a great job. I hope many, many see it.

CJ said...

Well said, ZTer! Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

oh, we gotta have a talk in the morning about this post amigo!

PhilippinesPhil said...

I'm with you Traveler. I regularly blog it out with a nice (although misguided) fellow from Iowa that REALLY despises this administration, and based on that hate constantly harps on what got us into the war to begin with. I say "whatever" on how we got into it, but liken our current presence in Iraq to an innocent baby resulting from an act of rape (if you will). Do we abandon the baby coz we hate the rapist, or do we absolve the baby of "the crime" that brought it into existence and continue to nurture it? THAT is what people have to ask themselves when they pull the voting levers this November... IF they can live with THAT on their conscience then so be it, pull away!

Oh, and for the record, I use the rape analogy for argument purposes ONLY, I personally think we invaded properly and in good faith.

Buddhist_philosopher said...

Hia Zen Traveler, while I am a great fan of your blog, this post ruffled my feathers a bit. I have long been asking my own list of 'then what?s'

When Bush said 'invade!' I said - 'then what?' When Cheney said our troops would be greeted as liberators I said 'then what?' Remove Saddam? Then what? Establish a government? Then what? Broker a semblance of peace in the region? Then what? 4000 more soldiers' lives? Then what?

As you yourself have written (Shi'a on Shi'a violence), we are dealing with a region with animosities and feuds that go far deeper than our 'mission accomplished' leaders seem to understand.

My fear 5 years ago and the same today is that we have unleashed a chaos that we cannot comprehend, let alone solve. Whenever we leave - beit now or 5 years from now, those who want to fight will fight, the dictator in the wings will rise to power, and the inherent instabilities in the region will become apparent. It is a fantasy (one which has become apparent to more people) to think we could do anything more than delay this.

Either we lobby to the international community, which has more and more come to see what liberals in the US saw 5 years ago, to step in and help us, or we phase out. Perhaps we reconsider a 3-state solution? There are more options than the 'stay the course' 'must make sacrifices' 4000 more soldiers direction that we're currently heading in.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Geez Ex-Catholic Buddha guy, is there ANYTHING worth committing to on this earth that takes sweat, blood and even lives to achieve? There IS hope that we're giving the Iraqis a chance to "self actualize." It won't be perfect, but we just might have a shot at helping them create a free Iraq. How about Tibet? I know you must have an interest there. Would you like to see them have a shot at freedom again? The only way they are going to get it is to fight and bleed for it. Its how every free people got that way and stayed that way. It sure doesn't happen by staring at your navel.