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Friday, February 22, 2008

End The War

So, basically every (pseudo or truly) left-wing person on this campus is of the opinion that the US needs to 'end the war in (or on I guess) Iraq.' SDS organized a demonstration to that extent in the Pit yesterday, most people I know here probably wholeheartedly agree. Now, I am definitely left-leaning (well, maybe not just leaning, but you get my point, long live Rosa, Karl, Rudi and Daniel!) as well, but this is just plain bullshit.

First, the US cannot 'end' the war in the first place. Iraq has been enduring a simmering civil war, pulling out American troops will not stop extremists from trying to topple a (more or less) secular regime. The slogan per se is just ridiculous thus. You could compare this to some extent with the Vietnam War where the 'end' of the war by the Americans led to two more years of fighting followed by North Vietnamese troops conquering Hanoi, or Afghanistan where the 'end' of the war by the Soviet Union led to an everlasting civil war, which only the Taliban kind of ended, for better or worse, but that is besides the point really. An occupying (and to some extent) stabilizing power such as the US in Iraq is simply not capable of ending a war which it - inadvertently - caused but cannot control.

Second, let us assume for a second the US is going to crouch back home like a dog with its tail stuck between its hind legs. Let us also abstract for a second from the impact on the perception of American power and how serious countries like Sudan (Darfur!) will take American threats. What will most likely happen in Iraq? As of right now there is Shiite-dominated government (with a Kurdish president). The Northern part of the country has to some extent emancipated itself from the rest of the country and most Sunnis are clamoring for more political power having realized that Al-Qaeda was not a good ally for them to have in the reordering of Iraq after Saddam. These Awakening Councils (of Sunni ex-resistance fighters) have contributed significantly to the (relative and very limited) increase in safety in Iraq over the last few weeks/months. With forced coherence by the Americans falling away now what would happen to this instable power triangle?

The Kurds almost assuredly would try to either become independent or at least segregate themselves even further from the rest of the country. They have decently organized armies (yes, more than one, if they became independent and had no common enemy anymore, the stability of Kurdistan itself would be questionable) and would want (or need) the oil sources around Mossul for economical survival. Also, they would probably try to make most Arabs leave their territory (especially Mossul again were Saddam had been trying to create an Arabic majority). The Shiites, unchecked by American power, would dominate the central government, most likely not feeling any need to include the Sunni-minority in a power-sharing deal. The Awakening Councils and their members, the Sunni militias that patrol for peace and against terrorists as of right now, would they be happy to agree to a situation in which decisions on their political and economical future would be made by a solely Shiite government? Most likely not, their natural response in fact would be to take up arms against this (perceived or truly) repressive government.

Additionally, Iran would try to increase their influence in Iraq through supporting their Shiite 'brethren', Saudi-Arabia would feel the need to support their fellow Sunnis in order to maintain some kind of a balance of power. The Kurds in Turkey (and Syria?) and the PKK still active in Northern Iraq would be beleaguered by a desire to create a Great-Kurdistan, which of course Turkey would not accept. Turkey would also without an American presence feel a lot less inhibited in its incursions into Iraq to fight the PKK.

Did I forget something? I hope not. I think not. I realize this is not the most coherent argument ever, I did not want to spend too much time on this. But this is a challenge to all those of you who say the US needs to 'end the war' now. Tell me why. Tell me why it would be better for the Iraqi people if the US disappeared. Because I just don't see it.

One last note, I was against this invasion (read my older entries), I think the Bush administration grandiosely screwed up with it in more than one sense, but we have to deal with the world as it is, not as we would want it to be. So, again, I hope some of you will find counterarguments for why the American devil needs to get out of Mesopotamia.

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