Give Iraqis a reason to stand up for themselves

“Almost everyone knows someone who is or has been in Iraq and has heard their stories. If not, they have undoubtedly read something about the Iraq War from a soldier’s perspective. Whatever the case may be, public opinion is now such that the cost and weight of these soldiers’ experiences is no longer worth being there.”

Almost everyone knows someone who is or has been in Iraq and has heard their stories.

If not, they have undoubtedly read something about the Iraq War from a soldier’s perspective. Whatever the case may be, public opinion is now such that the cost and weight of these soldiers’ experiences is no longer worth being there.

Americans want their troops, family and friends back on their home turf.

Some may argue that U.S. troops have no place in Iraq anyway, citing the fact that the war was started on false pretenses. That is still being debated, but it doesn’t matter what brought them there. All that matters is what can be done now.

Some call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops, but this is shortsighted. United States interests in the area are too great and the current Iraqi government is not strong enough for this to be feasible.

Last month, Case Western University professor Paul Schroeder presented on this very topic and outlined a different idea. In his opinion, a gradual withdrawal approach is most appropriate.

In this scenario, we withdraw a certain percentage of troops and the Iraqi government has 30 days to reduce sectarian violence by that same percentage. If they don’t, the troops stay.

Again, there are entirely too many variables and complications for this to be anything but shortsighted.

First, we need to determine exactly what would constitute a victory in this war. By definition, war involves violence. In this case, the sectarian violence needs to be stopped in order to win. Rebuilding a country is not the job of soldiers.

Next, the issue of how many troops are necessary to complete this objective needs to be addressed. It is likely that troops are present where they are needed; in places where, if they weren’t there, violence would increase.

But it is also likely that we have troops in unnecessary places doing jobs that would be more appropriately done by non-soldiers. These are the ones that need to come back immediately.

This withdrawal of troops needs to be accompanied by foreign direct investment, the process of companies in one country expanding into or investing in another country. This would put the job of rebuilding the country in the hands of companies (both in Iraq and elsewhere) that would provide decent-paying jobs to impoverished Iraqis.

This, in turn, would hopefully lead to a sense of security and higher morale among Iraqis, a greater caring about the future development of their country and a greater active effort to strengthen their own government and minimize the violence, without foreign troops watching constantly over their shoulders.

Instilling need, purpose, meaning and action into the minds of the Iraqis for themselves and their own country will be the catalyst for change in Iraq and one that is necessary for the troops to return home.