In my posts about Iraq there was a point that was not clear. In What Do We Do About Iraq? I wrote,
I think it is urgent that the US not have invaded Iraq. We should do absolutely everything we can to prevent the United States from having invaded Iraq.
But I also said that because we did we have an obligation to protect the people of Iraq from civil war, chaos, starvation, etc. as well as an obligation to rebuild the infrastructure we destroyed.
Let me clear something up. I think that the United States should not be in Iraq. I think we all agree on that. But I also don’t advocate that we “just leave” and here is why.
I don’t think we have, or will have for some time, political leadership capable of handling this situation. In fact, our leadership is making matters worse. Torture, death squads, corruption, hidden agendas, screwups and the fact that their primary motivation is personal power not the country’s interests all show their failures.
What can we – you and I who share Seeing the Forest – do about this? Very little. In fact, nothing of consequence to what happens in Iraq. But what is the RIGHT thing to happen next? If there’s nothing we can do, we can at least advocate the RIGHT thing.
The things we are for and against still have consequences, if only to ourselves, to our own humanity. For example, NY Times columnist recently wrote that if the Sunnis in Iraq won’t go along with the majority results in the elections there, we should arm the Shiites and let them take care of the Sunnis. He wrote,
“If [the Sunni] come around, a decent outcome in Iraq is still possible. If they won’t, then we are wasting our time. We should arm the Shiites and Kurds and leave the Sunnis of Iraq to reap the wind.”
So think about that – he is advocating genocide.
Similarly, if you or I advocate just leaving Iraq, knowing full well that it might result in a civil war, we are accepting similar results. And that must have some effect, somehow, on us. I am not a religious person, but I think people are harmed inside somehow when they allow themselves to be desensitized to such a point.
We can advocate just leaving, or anything else, and in a country controlled by the “conservative movement.” the real-world effect of our advocacy will be the same: “Shut up and go away.” So I think that the right thing to happen would be for the world to send in enough troops to stabilize the country and keep the peace while Iraq builds the institutions of justice required to moderate the tensions. No matter how long it takes, or how much that would cost. That is what I advocate. This is why I do not say we should “just leave.”