Iraq myths

To decide what to do about Iraq we must first get rid of myths. And we must realize that all options are bad. All the terrible things that people are concerned about may well happen. George Bush got us into a situation in which can neither stay in or get out. We can only choose the least bad course. This follows the discussion given below.

Victory is essential!
Who are we trying to defeat, the Sunnis or the Shiites? How about the terrorists? But what does it mean to defeat them? We can kill many, but then more come along. This can just go on forever. Being in Iraq makes us targets so stimulates many people there to commit terror. Of course many will carry out horrible acts no matter what we do, but out presence does not prevent that, it stimulates it. In that situation victory has no meaning. Not only is victory unattainable, it is undefinable.  We must not surrender! To whom?

The region is unstable.  We must stay until the Iraqi army is strong enough to protect the country. But that will never happen. If say Iran decides to invade (which is not likely) the Iraqi army will never be strong enough to defend the country. At best it will be strong enough not to fall apart. And that is highly questionable. Besides it is impossible to have an army to defend the country if there is no country to defend, and there isn’t any. An army must be part of a government. But there is none, and there won’t be.

It is essential, before we get out, to arm and train the army. Then when we get out the civil war would be bloodier than if we had done nothing.

If we leave Saudi Arabia might take over the Sunni areas and Iran the Shiite ones. That does not mean that they will fight each other. Perhaps Saudi Arabia should mover into the Sunni areas. They may be able to keep the peace among their co-religionists. Will Iran really go to war to stop them from aiding the Sunnis, with no threat to the Shiites?  Let us look at this realistically. Of course Iran’s influence will increase. That is the price we will have to pay because of George Bush’s blundering. But this will happen no matter how long we remain there.

We should start to withdraw to emphasize to the Iraqis that we will not be there forever so they must compromise and set up a workable government. Of course they will not.  Their mutual hatred, distrust, contempt are too great to allow compromise. It has been clear for a long time that we would leave and there has been no movement at all. That has nothing to do with what we do. Withdrawing some troops will not change their behavior, except make it worse.

There is a belief that we cannot withdraw all our forces, we must keep some to maintain stability, to fight the terrorists.  But we cannot do this now. Having fewer troops will make it more difficult. It only makes sense to withdraw all (except for small contingents to defend the embassy, the Green Zone, and perhaps a few other places like the airport).  There is nothing else they can possibly do.

It is essential that we must not let the terrorists win. They have won, Bush gave them a victory. Remaining there will not help, but just gives them a means of drawing others into terrorism. We can hope that they will defeat themselves as they have been doing to some extent.  But we can’t no matter how long we stay because they are a symptom of a deeply sick country, which we do not have the power to heal.

We should keep enough troops to train the Iraqis. This is dangerous because it may make a civil war bloodier. But if we think we should do that let us train them in Jordan or Saudi Arabia where our troops would be safer and our presence less provocative.

All reasons for staying are based only on myths. All our actions have been based on myths and the only reasonable action is to get rid of the myths.


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