Bring our Troops Home
I suppose it is fairly obvious that I would be against continued US military presence in Iraq.
For one, the war was based on lies, deception and manipulation -- there were no weapons of mass destruction (and most of us realized that well in advance of the war); Iraq was not on the verge of attacking anyone, especially not America or any of its allies; Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 and did not encourage terrorism.
This alone merits an end to the war - we had no business starting it, we have no busines continuing it. What was wrong in the beginning, is wrong in the end.
But there are far more reasons to oppose continued military operations in Iraq.
1) People are dying. Innnocent people. 2300+ American service men and women who were lied to by their government have died. But worse, an immense number of Iraqis -- the government places the estimate at 33,000, others estimate the casualties as high as 250,000. Even taking the lowest number, that's 10 times the number of people who died on 9-11. That's 33,000 people who had nothing to do with 9-11; whose government had nothing to do with 9-11. It makes one stop and ask -- who's the biggest killer? who is terrorizing whom? Iraqis are people just like any other people. Their lives are just as valuable as American lives. It breaks my heart to hear of 2300 fellow Americans who have died in this war -- my neighbors, the sons and daughters, brothers and sisters of my friends and neighbors. And it breaks my heart to hear of the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died -- they also are my neighbors, my global neighbors, and my brothers in sisters in humanity, as well as in faith.
We live in a small world. A world which is increasingly interdependent, and where violence in one part of the world affects people everywhere. Islam is not going to magically disappear as much as some people might like it to. Christians and Jews are not going to convert enmasse, even though some folks would like that too. We have
to learn to get along together, or we are going to die together. Plain and simple. Diversity is, and we've got to deal with it.
2) History has shown that "insurgencies" (or, opposition to occupation as the insurgencies tend to see themselves) do not fade away under assault, that military pressure and/or punishment does not convince these fighters that the price is too high, but rather strengthens their determination precisely because the price they have paid has been so high already. The US military presence in Iraq only adds fuel to the insurgency. It exacerbates the conflicts which are creeping ever closer to civil war. It undermines the authority of the Iraqi government, as more and more people see it as an American stooge, as propped up by the Americans rather than a representation of the Iraqi people's will. Until we leave, things will continue to get worse.
3) We made a mess for the Iraqi people, but they are capable of solving their own problems by themselves. They are not children, they are not backward neanderthals who cannot fathom how to build a civil society. We propped up Saddam -- helped ensure that a brutal dictator survived. We starved the Iraqi citizens with ten years of sanctions (even though it was quite clear that Saddam and the ruling party were not being affected, only the Iraqi people). We invaded and destroyed much of the Iraqi infrastructure (power plants, hospitals, etc). Yes, we owe a LOT to the Iraqi people. We should invest heavily in reconstruction -- with the profits of reconstruction projects remaining in the country and helping to fuel it's economy. But we should also stop patronizing the Iraqis. They can handle their problems. We don't have to solve it for them.
4) We can't afford to stay. Our schools are desperately underfunded. Social programs for the poor, for the elderly, for the disabled, for college education, are being slashed right and left. Our national debt is so high most of us cannot even comprehend the number. But we can spend 6 billion dollars a month in Iraq. That's 20 millions dollars every day. There are so many better ways to spend this money.
Anyway, it's late, I'm tired and depressed because it looks like Bush is intent on attacking Iran, which would be an even worse debacle than Iraq. When will sanity and love reign, rather than greed, power grabbing, and self-aggrandizement?