24 June 2005

What are we getting for our sacrifices in Iraq?

First let's be clear. The insurgency in Iraq is killing more Iraqis and fewer Americans. Despite this, polls now indicate that a majority of Americans want to get out of Iraq. The insurgent leaders take note of our media and know our poll results. They now know what they have always thought: what counts in defeating the fledgling Iraqi democracy is the number of bombs they set off. Even if they mostly kill Iraqis and alienate the Iraqi people, the bombings weaken the will of America to do what it takes to support the new government. If the insurgents just keep bombing, the Americans will simply give up and go away.

What happens then? Unlike Vietnam, there is no army ready to invade Iraq the way the North Vietnamese Regular Army invaded South Vietnam after the Americans abandoned it, and refused even to supply the South Vietnamese Army with the spare parts they needed to keep their weapons working. Or is there? Iran is investing in Iraq, supplying funds and clergy to set up schools in the Shi'ite areas. Perhaps Iran has designs on Iraq. Or perhaps the insurgents hope to bring back the Baathists (Saddam Hussein's party, which blended Nazi ideology with pan-Arabism).

Either way, if Americans walk away from the Iraqi democracy before it can stand on its own, Americans will have nullified the sacrifices of American troops and their families, and betrayed the Iraqi people yet again. And instead of a democratic Iraq as the nucleus of an Islamic Enlightenment whose ideas and ideology could defeat the Global Salafist Jihad, we will have another failed state providing the Jihad with a new base of operations.

Americans will also have given up a valuable distraction. You see, if Iraq is dividing our forces in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), it is also dividing the forces of the terrorists. All those jihaddicts in Iraq are not in Afghanistan. Further, all the press about Iraq "sucks the oxygen" out of stories on Afghanistan. Whatever the jihaddicts do in Afghanistan gets no traction in the West because of Iraq. Essentially, Iraq is providing the cover Afghanistan needs as it transitions to a post-war state.

So, whether or not we moved with too much or too little haste in deposing Saddam, I think we should stay our course and leave Iraq when the Iraqi people, through their government, tell us to go, and not a moment sooner.

Because, Iraq or no Iraq, we are going to be confronting global Islamist insurgency until the insurgency burns itself out. I'd rather we do it in Iraq than in America and Europe (which is acting in its own self-interest by freeloading off the American effort in Iraq). And I'd rather that those who do not want to oppose it with violence oppose it with nonviolence instead of appeasing it or just giving in.

5 comments:

Scooper said...

The Gator forwarded this one:

A lot of printer's ink and hot air have been consumed over the Iraq war; the loss of 1,700 U.S.
military lives is touted as a reason to pull out. If you consider that there have been an average
of 160,000 troops in theater in Iraq during the last 22 months, that gives a firearm death rate of
60 per 100,000.

The rate in DC is 80.6 per 100,000. That means that you are more likely to be shot and killed in
our Nation's Capitol, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, than you are
in Iraq.

Conclusion: We should immediately pull out of Washington.

Timothy said...

Wow, I totally agree with you. All those people calling raucously for the American troops to be pulled out are probably, by my guess, subject to the same sensationalism in the media etc. that gives rise to the phrase "mass man." That type of thing is so prevalent. Even over here people can be made to think that the Conservative party has some sort of "hidden agenda" to take away social liberties or something just because Stephen Harper has blue eyes and a stoic look.

Judd said...

Though I am an American exceptionalist in some areas, I do admit some reservations as to whether our form of government is very suitable to the task at hand. Victor Hanson argues that democracies are terribly efficient at waging warfare, but this only apparently when their livelihoods are immediately and identifiably in extremis. This new type of warfare doesn't offer that sense of urgency, and being a republic with changing executives and relatively fickle will, I fear we may squander our initial resolve.

garywilson said...

We will never win Iraq, nor will we ever leave it. We will have bases there like in Turkey, Korea,Japan, Germany, etc. If we leave it, it will be because America ceases to be... a not unlikey scenario. Debt, moral decay, gov't corruption, may be our doom. But then the rest may follow due to global warming and pollution. Bye-Bye!

Scooper said...

Garywilson,
Thanks for providing an example of why Judd is right.