Sophia's Peace Work

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

No Good Options?

I friend and I sat up late in our grungy Amman hotel arguing. It was nearly 2 am and in a few hours my friend was about to fly to Baghdad. I am staying safely in Amman, Jordan for the foreseeable future. We argued about alot of things ... all of them related to the situation in Iraq and in the way of certain arguments we argued around and around and roamed from topic to topic until we really weren't sure what we were arguing about anymore.

But in the end, I remember that we clearly differed on the issue of whether the U.S. troops should stay in Iraq. My friend said yes, I said no. I think if you went to Iraq, in many places you would hear the same argument and hear the same difference of opinion among Iraqis themselves.

Essentially, the yes argument is that if the U.S. troops leave, the country will only descend into further chaos. The no argument is that, while yes, the country would probably remain unstable for some time, the violence couldn't be any worse than it is no and at this point many people are fighting just because the U.S. is present. I would also add, as I said to my friend, that Iraqis are not given much credit by those who argue for the troops to stay. I think that Iraqis would face a long uphill battle, one that they did not even choose but was forced upon them, but that with the absence of the Americans, Iraqis would rise to the occasion. I would also say that it is pointless to get an honest opinion from the current Iraqi regime on this question. They will uniformly say that the Americans should stay ... but it was the Americans that put them in power afterall, so they tend to be a tad biased.

For me I think of what happened at Tal Afar (Go to the bottem and check the entry for Jan 21st, 2005) when a U.S. patrol, with dusk upon them, did the right thing ... they followed all the appropriate orders and precautions ... they fired into an approaching car that didn't stop when ordered to ... as the car rolled to a stop, the cries of children could be heard from within. The soldiers opened the door and found the bloodied corpses of a mother and father in the front seat ... and six young, screaming children in the back seat all basically unharmed came tumbling out. Who knows why the father didn't hear the warning shots ... maybe the voices of six children in the back seat was loud enough to drown them out ... maybe in the dusk, the driver just didn't see. Who knows. It was a mistake and the troops most likely did what they were supposed to do. But now six young lives are horribly traumatized. No, more than six ... for what has this done to those young soldiers?

One can only say that perhaps, they should never have been there in the first place.

Perhaps my friend is right and the removal of U.S. troops would lead to an even worsening spiral of violence. But it is ultimately all speculation on everyone's part. We are not likely to find out as the leadership in the U.S. is bent on staying put. I just wonder how many Tal Afars, how many destroyed lives await us in the future under the present course.


  • Pulling out - we did something similar once before. It was in Afghanistan and after Russia lost we left the Aghanistan people to "work it out" amongst themselves - which led to civil war and the eventual rise of the Taliban which led to creating a country that allowed Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations safe haven. In addition, because we pulled out, it led to one of the most repressive governments towards women ever.

    We should pull out only after a democratic government can remain stable on it's own. But even then, we should still have teams hunting down and bringing to justice the killers who have been sawing off heads and disemboweling Americans. We either get them there or wait until they come to the mainland. I'd rather we get them there. Why there? Because that's where they are and we've already seen what they'll do when they come here.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 26, 2005 9:13 PM  

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