Thursday, January 26, 2006

Ending the War in Iraq

Alright, so those of us who were against or for the war in Iraq have a vested interest in democracy succeeding there; yet, my inclination is that we must begin withdrawing now so that Iraqis know that we won't be a permanent occupying force there. The public sentiment in Iraq is against our occupation, the Bush adminstration botched post-war planning, the war has cost nearly $350 billion, and it was waged under false pretenses.

That said, what would be the best way to both a) ensure that some vestige of democracy succeeds in Iraq and b) the U.S. begins withdrawal and has most troops out by the end of the year, with 2007 as the latest we are there? One can state that having the sectarian groups, the Shi'ite, Sunnis, and Kurds, form a coalition government is a good start, yet the sectarianism is still reflected in those chosen representatives from the December election; further radical Sunnis are still behind a good amount of the insurgent attacks, and many of the minority Sunnis feel disenfranchised from the entire political process. There is no magic bullet solution to this, unfortunately.

I am inclined to think that the U.S. presence there creates and fosters further problems, not solutions. Hence, if we were to withdraw and instead have a much smaller force strategically placed in the mideast somewhere (and focus more on Afghanistan), the Iraqi government would be seen as a legitimate, non-puppet entity. An attack against Iraqis would be viewed as one against the country, uniting the various sects against the perpetrators and further isolating the extremists.

We also need to yield all control of oil fields to Iraqis, procure further assistance from the U.N. and international forces, and have better control of border security. The Iraqis should control their own country and destiny, even if they have a muted version of an Islamic state; it is their choice to make, but we all have a definite interest in peace and democracy in that country, even if we were lied to in the run up to the war.

Any more ideas on withdrawing from Iraq but also ensuring that some form of democracy survives?


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