Thursday, July 14, 2005

A rambling meditation on Iraq, revisited

In the midst of thinking, these past couple of weeks, about the Downing Street Memo and the whole Rove/Plame/Novak/Cooper/Miller firestorm that erupted this past weekend, I found myself thinking about this old post of mine, written in a (relatively) more innocent time when I was thinking that the whole adventure in Iraq was a matter of overzealous and sloppily-executed actions there in service to ideals that I strongly believe in. Now that it becomes clearer and clearer to all but the most recalcitrant True Believers that what drove the current administration's actions regarding Iraq was not policy but politics, I thought I'd reread it. I find myself still agreeing with it--if anything, more now than before. Indeed, I find myself upset to hear rumors of a substantial troop withdrawl being considered beginning next year--just in time, wouldn't you know it, for the 2006 elections. But I'm not upset because I'm a hawk; I'm upset because I would rather my country not leave until/unless the new Iraq is a viable entity . . . and when would that be? And if its survival is still in the balance when the drawdown begins, what does that say about our devotion to those ideals we say we want to help the Iraqis achieve? Is Bush just selectively strong-willed?
Along these lines, yesterday I found (via Oxblog) an excellent
meditation on the past two years by a former soldier whose son is in the Rangers. It conveys, more eloquently and with more justification than most of us have a right to claim to feel, the mixture of confusion, rage, nausea, and hope that I feel when I think about Iraq.

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1 comment:

Kira Zalan said...

Our (gradually reduced) presence in Iraq will be required for the next five to ten years. There is a philosophy that militaries in democracies must adopt. A military force must understand itself to be a tool of the state, subjected to civilian power. The Iraqi military cannot be abandoned until we ensure that they have the necessary institutional ethos of protecting civilian power. An alternative to anarchy could also be a military coup by a self-perceived independent actor.

On the other hand, it seems the media is getting bored with Bush’s resolve. The topic of a troop withdrawal may be just that - a way to stir the pot.

I hope this isn’t just wishful thinking on my part. I hope there are people that understand the consequences of an early withdrawal, and will withstand the mounting pressure of shortsightedness.