“We hear the same thing every day concerning our affairs in Iraq: another car bomb explodes, more U.S. soldiers die, sectarian violence escalates, no troops are coming home, al-Qaeda promises more bloodshed and Bush’s approval rating is so low that people regret re-electing him.””
We hear the same thing every day concerning our affairs in Iraq: another car bomb explodes, more U.S. soldiers die, sectarian violence escalates, no troops are coming home, al-Qaeda promises more bloodshed and Bush’s approval rating is so low that people regret re-electing him. It’s no wonder that our actions in Iraq are still a hot topic for debate.
So what’s the big deal? President Bush declared an end to major combat operations, so that means we won, right? Not quite.
The problem is that he made that declaration more than four years ago. We’re still there, and things haven’t improved too much. It remains odd that the invasion lasted only two months before the aforementioned declaration, and yet we’re still over there.
How do we win? What did we hope to achieve in the first place?
We wanted to take out Saddam Hussein, a dictator guilty of crimes against humanity, who allegedly had weapons of mass destruction and links to Osama bin Laden and the Sept. 11 attacks. That didn’t take very long.
As it turns out, he wasn’t hiding any WMDs, and ties to al-Qaida have been thoroughly refuted. Not to mention there wasn’t nearly as much sectarian violence in Iraq under Saddam. That started when we showed up.
We wanted to help maintain security long enough to install a new, democratic government in the country that just had it’s head chopped off so it could handle affairs without our involvement. We did it. We’ll ignore the fact that we don’t care about democracy in countries that don’t serve our interests. Anyone hear of Darfur?
But then violence continued to escalate, so we sent more troops. What was an invasion of a city became an occupation of a country. Though violence has decreased somewhat in recent months, it’s still at a troubling level.
During this time, we’ve also wanted to help rebuild infrastructure, which is commendable. More troops. More money. And that’s U.S. taxpayers’ money, not some wealthy democratic zealot with a soft spot for Iraq.
Now we want to eliminate al-Qaida in Iraq. Osama bin Laden remains a constant threat, and according to the Bush administration, this is a necessary step in ensuring the safety of Iraq’s future.
That’s all well and good, but doesn’t it sound a bit like that old book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? A new need arises (whether genuine or constructed) and we do what we can to satisfy it out of necessity.
There’s always something to justify our role in Iraq. Let it be satisfied with the cookie, and figure the rest out on its own.
It doesn’t make sense to try and install a democratic government in a region so torn apart by religious violence. Well, the concept makes sense, but it’s not feasible just yet.
In a religion predating Christianity, it takes a little bit of time to set aside religious differences and focus on something constructive for the sake of the country. When this sectarian difference is ingrained in Iraqis’ minds and terrorists just help to fuel the violence, this process can take even longer.
We can’t be sure how long it will take, but one thing is certain: it will take a lot longer than we should be sticking around for.
As for Osama bin Laden, in the video released over the weekend – his first in three years – his beard was all black, leading to speculation that he dyed it to cover the gray.
Since our efforts to capture him have been fruitless, we should divert our resources (and the taxpayers’ money) to more productive efforts, and let him die of old age.
Democracy in Iraq might actually work by then, too.