First, thanks for all the visits. One of the reasons I started this blog up (again!) was to give all of you a look at part of the ground truth in Iraq–something that can get lost in all of the histrionics and official pronunciamientos. Hopefully, I’m succeeding.
Some of you have mentioned to me that it seems I don’t think Iraq’s better off for our having been there. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think that our presence there has improved the life of Iraq, if only because we removed a monstrous tyrant from power. It’s impossible not to look into some of those mass graves, or look at some of the taped footage of Saddam’s mass executions, and not feel utterly disgusted; not just with him, but with us for allowing such evil to run unchecked.
So, it’s a good thing that Saddam was removed from power.
But it’s only a good thing if we canprevent another autocracy, whether it’s religious or not, from taking power in Iraq. If we don’t, then, frankly, what was our sacrifice for?
I don’t see any indication that this White House is prepared to do anything it takes in order to insure a free future in Iraq. We’re handing over power to the Iraqis on July 1st and we’re gradually withdrawing to a few fortified compounds. The end result is to withdraw from daily contact with Iraqis, and, it seems, to wash our hands off it all.
I happen to believe that’s the wrong approach to take. I think that we’d be better off engaging the Iraqis, and helping them rebuild their country, and helping to prevent further chaos and dissolution from taking place. But that’s not a decision I make–that’s a decision the President makes.
I think it’s the wrong one. And if it is, then someone, sooner rather than later, will begin asking the same question a young 27-year-old officer asked of his leadership over three decades ago:
“How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”
C’est plus ça change, c’est plus la même chose.
It’s not enough to remove a tyrant from power; we must also keep them from gaining power. And we can’t do that by slinking away.