Iraq and Moral Responsibility
In the pasts several months I've had discussions with three close friends in which they have told me that five years ago they were mistaken and I was correct about the then just beginning war in Iraq. These three friends were each pro-invasion. I was opposed to America's invasion of Iraq.
They, like most Americans then, believed it would be a intense but quick war and American troops would be victorious and come home. I believed that it would be a quick, perhaps blood war, but we, as I said then, would be bringing young Americans home in body-bags for the next fifty years. I still believe that this will be the case.
As bad as that is, I do believe, now that the die is cast, that the worst thing that we could do is just pickup and leave the Iraqis to their fate. By invading Iraq we have stirred up a hornets nest. The nest that we have irritated was there for everyone to see. I am certain the people in the State Department who knew Iraq's history plus ethnic and religious demographics of the country must have foreseen what is now reality there. Put the President would not listen to such people, he had made up his mind and would not be persuaded by the facts.
I saw some of it and I am certainly no expert. However, I did serve in the military and I had a fair understanding of what things were like over there. I had this understanding because of a secret briefing that I received in 1980, because I was a Navy Aircrew man, before I went on deployment to the Gulf of Oman, near the Straits of Hormuz. I remembered that briefing and had read more about Iraq, it's history and peoples since then, this gave me insights that most Americans did not have.
If I could see what would happen certainly many others in the military and State Department must have foreseen it, but those who saw the clearly were ignored and now we have been fighting brush-fires in Iraq for five years, 4,ooo American service men and women are dead and Iraq is in tatters.
The Democratic Candidates for president promise to "bring the troops home." OK. The American people "want the troops home." I believe that such a move would lead to civil war and a far greater blood bath in Iraq. An American pull out at this time would lead to a holocaust. I could also pour over Iraq's borders and destabilise other (somewhat pro-American) nations in the region.
We toppled the de facto government in Iraq and blinded by our on democratic mythology, tried to establish democracy in a land and culture unprepared for democracy. We NOW have a moral obligation to see this thing through to the end. We started it by invading the country and toppling its two-bit thug dictator.
Saddam was a murderous thug, but it is not our duty to remove thugs from power in other countries, but now that we have done the deed it would be cowardly to shrink from the obligations that we have brought on ourselves by our own free choice. It would be more immoral for us to simply up and leave Iraq now, than it is to continue there until a stable (which will not be a democracy) is established, even though it means that we will, for the foreseeable future, have to bring a handful of brave young Americans home in body-bags, as we are now doing.
We made a very bad decision. The question is do we have the moral courage and intestinal fortitude to live up to the obligations that that bad decision has put on our shoulders?