When it comes to Iraq, we all can agree on one thing: our troops crushed that butcher Saddam Hussein and we must now help Iraqis rebuild their country. Right?
The challenge in post-Saddam Iraq is daunting - and we cannot afford to fail. Middle East columnist Thomas Friedman said it best when he compares Iraq to a walnut. Since we cracked it open, it belongs to us. It is time to put all the pieces back together again.
The possibilities of a democratic government there, featuring representation by Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, and other factions that have hated each other for centuries, seems remote for now. Yet, we must make Iraq work.
The only alternative is to pack up and go home. Other than Pat Buchanan and a minority of Iraqis, I haven‘t heard any sane person say that the U.S. should pull out their troops and leave Iraq immediately.
I almost forgot, the French have insinuated that we should leave Iraq in 30 days. Don‘t be absurd, Jacque. It should be crystal clear: 25 million innocent Iraqis would be caught in the crossfire of a cruel civil war if the U.S. military returned home any time soon. Besides, if we left before security was instituted in that country, American standing in the world and our ability to find supportive allies in the future would end up in a heap of ashes.
So why am I even discussing the obvious... because our government officials spend a disproportionate amount of time dwelling on the peripheral issues attached to our presence in Iraq. It is the same endless query that resolves nothing:
“Does Iraq have weapons of mass destruction hidden somewhere?“ Probably.
“Is there a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11? Our president says there is no such evidence, the VP says yes.
“Will we find Saddam?“ Of course, we will.
“Should we have invaded Iraq or not?“ I wasn‘t in favor - but who knows for sure?
Now that I‘ve answered these questions for you, let‘s move ahead. History will definitively resolve the above issues for us. It is now critical that a unified, successful U.S. peacekeeping policy kicks in for Iraq. Here is what needs to happen:
(1) Democrat legislators need to keep their big traps shut about Iraq. The same bunch of sissies who lined up behind a popular President Bush when the resolution to invade Iraq was declared, are now blasting his post-war policy after things didn‘t go as well as hoped. Did Gephardt, Kerry, and Edwards really think it would be a cakewalk to rebuild Iraq in the best-case scenario? Democrats, who encouraged the invasion, don‘t seem to have any better ideas for rebuilding, only stinging criticism.
(2) President Bush needs to stop making excuses for invading Iraq. Transparent attempts by the administration to dwell on flimsy evidence of WMD, linkage of Saddam to Osama, or the positive developments occurring daily in Iraq only lead to more skepticism of his policies. U.S. troops stationed in Iraq might be safer if Bush, Chaney, Rice, Rumsfeld, et al spent half of their energy on strategies for rebuilding Iraq that is now used for defensive spin on the administration‘s declining polls results.
(3) We need help. More support from the U.N. should be the top priority. As the world‘s only superpower, we should be immune to hard feelings from the pre-war rhetoric. It is in our best interests to hold no grudges against France, Germany, Russia, and the others who disagreed with our invasion. The sooner we humbly find other nations to provide peacekeeping troops, money, and other assistance for rebuilding Iraq, the sooner our troops will avoid being picked off like ducks at a shooting gallery and come home.
There is only one way can rebuild Iraq, keep our troops safer, and not fall into a black hole of spiraling debt - by realizing that we are all in this together.