Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The 'Surge'

So I have a question. At the moment, questions are out of vogue and opinions are in (in that respect, all the elections changed were that there is suddenly more than one opinion). My question concerns Iraq. It concerns the 'Surge.' It also concerns criticism of the 'Surge.' My question is, what about the Iraqi people?

Let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start): this war should never have happened. Intelligence was deliberately distorted; informed criticisms were ignored; the American people were lied to. Fine. I get that. Most of us get that.

The invasion plans were flawed - troop levels were nowhere near where they should have been. The scenario we expected (something about being greeted as liberators, no Mr. Cheney?) was completely wrong. We foolishly ignored the advice of our allies and pushed them aside. Fine. I get that too.

Bush's plan for a 'Surge' appears to offer little potential for 'success.' The increase is far from substantial. Okay. I'm still getting this. But why do we instead simply call to 'bring the troops home'? Because we don't want more American servicemen and women to be killed? I get that, but what of the far greater number of innocent Iraqis that will continue to be killed if we withdraw without creating some sort of stability? We cannot simply say, as Chuck Schumer suggested the other night, that we didn't bargain for a civil war. The current violence, the tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) or Iraqi deaths, these are the results of our invasion. As a nation, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to prevent future death and destruction resulting for our blunders. (I note, however, that more American troops on the ground is not the only solution)

How do we do that? I admit, I don't know (though I do have some opinions). But we start by talking about it, by asking questions. By admitting that we have a responsibility. And right now, no one seems to be doing that.

1 comment:

Bryce McKibben said...

You are very right. The American people have combined the efforts of the administration and the Iraqi people - we've given up on both. I admit, I am guilty too. I think we have an obligation to clean up our mess. Sometimes, however, it comes down to a nasty, unethical, completely unexcusable weighing of the "chips" - we're talking about American families dying, and we do seem to have a supreme commitment to these families first of all. I don't know what to think when all options on the table result in death...