Sunday, October 22, 2006

Should we stay or should we go now?

Anyone who's so much as stopped by this blog briefly could tell you that I'm a fairly liberal democrat. I wholeheartedly disagreed with the decision to go into Iraq and wish mightly that we hadn't. That said, until fairly recently I did not believe that we should simply withdraw all of our troops and call it quits. My reasoning was that since we invaded their country and toppled their government we had an obligation to stay and clean up our mess. I also worried about the power vacuum that would be left in the region with a completely unstable Iraq. However, unlike our current President, I tend to reevaluate my position on issues when the situation changes and the situation in Iraq has clearly changed.

Do I like the idea of withdrawing and leaving Iraq a disaster area, no, but if our staying is making the situation no better, and very possibly worse then I think it's time to pull out. Our position in Iraq was bad and tenuous enough when we we're fighting terrorists from outside the country, and some disgruntled Iraqis. For over three years we we're unable to subdue the violence or control anywhere close to the majority of the territory in Iraq. Now Iraq is embroiled in a full fledged civil war, and for the better part of the past year we've been attempting to fight all of the aforementioned terrorists while also quelling the sectarian violence of Iraqis torturing, and killing each other in massive numbers. When the situation has dissolved into us trying to keep the very people we're supposedly in Iraq to help from killing each other, not to mention our troops, I think it's time to reevaluate what we're accomplishing.

The other factor that has to be taken into account when talking about withdrawing or staying the course in Iraq is what we have to lose. Will remaining in Iraq longer help or hurt America? This is a tough question since we can't know the future, but I think we have to decide working with the premise that if the sun rose yesterday and the day before that it will most likely rise tomorrow. In other words, if in the four years that we've been in Iraq we have been unable to stop the violence, in fact it's as bad or worse, we've been unable to control the territory and a civil war has started under our noses, why should we believe another year or two or four will make things better. If the democratic government we set up in Iraq fails tomorrow because we withdrawal will that be any worse for America than if it fails after another four years of our troops being killed because we've stubbornly remained?

It's a valid question, but here's an even better one. Do we run any other risks to America by continuing our present course in Iraq? Yes, I think we run some major ones, which has become apparent quite recently. While we have the vast majority of our armed forces tied up trying to subdue Iraq, and to a lesser degree Afghanistan, countries who actually do present a very real threat to America thumb their noses at us, build up their rather large militaries and having nothing to fear from us, continue their nuclear programs. In the case of Iran, we've taken away two of the checks and balances that kept their nutball leader in line. His biggest enemy in the region was Saddam who he obviously doesn't need to guard against anymore, and while he may be a nut he's not too stupid to understand that while we may threaten him verbally we do not have a very big stick to wave at him militarily at the moment. As for North Korea, they are an even scarier proposition. First off, they actually have weapons of mass destruction and missles that are capable of hitting the west coast of America and secondly I don't think it's a coincidence that while our armed forces are overwhelmed with tasks N. Korea decides now's the time to test their nuclear arsenal. Then there's China, a good friend of N. Koreas, while everyone's busy focusing on Iraq they've continued an unprecedented (since the Germany of the 30's) military buildup. We were so concerned with the U.S.S.R.'s weapons buildup during the cold war, well the current Chinese weapons proliferation makes that look miniscule. Hmmm... you might ask yourself, China has no enemies that have threatened them in the last however many years, why are they investing so much in weapons and troop buildup? Good question. This country is so worried about terrorism, but perhaps we shouldn't forget that there are other real threats to our national security.

When it comes to Iraq, the question of whether we should stay or go is complex. A healthy, stable, democratic Iraq is an appealing idea, however the evidence we have at this point does not paint a rosy picture or provide any proof that we can succeed in accomplishing it. Simply having faith in our political leadership, or faith that America always comes out on top is I believe naive, foolhardy and the type of thinking that got us into this mess in the first place.


Anonymous UR Girlfriend said...

I think the Clash said it the best in Should I Stay or Should I go?..." If I go there will be trouble, if I stay there will be double!"

10/24/2006 11:05 AM  
Blogger el said...

I don't see how Iraq is that much of a disaster. I think its going to be a success as long as we stay. I think the big thing is that there are not going to be quick results from this. We can't be fickle. The thing is that the area will significantly worsen if we leave. Also, think of the positive attributes if we do help build a stable government in that area. For one, it would be an ally next to Iran. I think that would be a major plus. It is noticeable that this is not something that would have immediate results. Think of the development of Japan and Germany after WWII. It is possible and if we pull out now we will simply have to face the same problem later. It won't disappear. And isn't better to meet the enemy abroad rather than at home?

10/25/2006 8:25 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

El, You make some valid points if we assume that Iraq is a war we can win given enough time. I'm not convinced it is, because we have made so little progress, in fact we've gone backwards from what I can see, and I don't believe every war is winnable no matter how much time you put into it-Vietnam would be an example I would cite of this. Plus I feel we need to consider what cost we will pay for continuing to wait and see if Iraqs winnable, not only in troops and money, but also at the detriment to other areas of national security. But, as I said in my post, a democratic Iraq would be wonderful, if that's what the Iraqs want and if we could make some real progress sometime in the near future. As for fighting our enemies there instead of here, I hear a lot of conservatives say that, and frankly I just don't buy into it. There were no terrorists in Iraq until we invaded and now the majority of people we're fighting there are from the different Iraqi sects. I don't see the Iraqis we're fighting there having any interest in attacking us here, and as for Al Qeada, if we we're really interested in fighting them to a standstill overseas, than we should be sending the majority of our troops to Afghanistan and Pakistan instead of(starting a completely needless war in Iraq-sorry but that still pisses me off) keeping them bogged down in Iraq. It's good to debate with you again! Thanks for the comments.

10/25/2006 11:17 PM  
Anonymous ur girlfriend said...

I know you thought my quote from the clash was backwards, but after checking my facts this morning I was as always ;-)~ RIGHT. Feel free to visit

10/26/2006 12:03 PM  

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