Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Time for Withdrawal?

There has been renewed rumblings throughout the liberal blogosphere and media for withdrawal from Iraq. Today, I ran into this argument from, a project of the Nation Institute and oversaw by Tom Englehardt.

Here's the basic gist of Englehardt's rationale:
Back in 2003, when I wrote "The Time of Withdrawal," I offered the following simple summary of our situation and why withdrawal should be on the American agenda:

"History, long term and more recent, is not on our side.

"We are a war-making and an occupying force, not a peacekeeping force.

"We never planned to leave Iraq.

"Time is against us.

"Or to boil all this down to a sentence: We are not and never have been the solution to the problem of Iraq, but a significant part of the problem."

I wouldn't change a word. In October of 2003, however, the "time of withdrawal" was distinctly not upon us. Now -- finally -- it is. We seem to have reached the actual moment when the idea of "withdrawal," at least, is being placed on the American agenda -- by the unlikely Walter Jones, among others. This is, of course, a far worse moment for withdrawal than in 2003, for Iraqis as well as Americans, just as 2007 will be worse than today.
I agree pretty much 100% with Tom on this, yet I have one caveat: Can there be a political solution with Islamic fundamentalist terrorists? I don't think so, and this is my only reservation about a U.S. withdrawal, because I'm not sure Europe and the rest of the U.N. are as vehemont as the U.S. is in stopping Islamic terrorism. Much like the Holy Bible, but only worse, the Koran is littered with passages imploring believers to smite the unbelievers. If those in the global Islamic terror network actually believe word-for-word what the Koran says, then what other options do we have but to kill them. And I understand that at this moment in time, killing one insurgent creates two or three new ones. So how do we kill those who wage holy war on us, while hopefully curbing recruitment at the same time as we show those susceptible of Islamic fundamentalist indoctrination that modernity, secular government, and democracy remain the solution to Middle-Eastern malaise?

Believe me I have no rose-tinted glasses on. I believe this was a war of choice waged on a paper tiger for strategic (military bases,show of force) and economic reasons (oil and a footprint of privatization in the Middle-East), although I do think ending Hussein's tyranny was an unqualified good for Iraqis, despite our unlaudable and dishonest reasons for regime change. Yet, this doesn't change the fact that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has worked as a self-fulfilling prophecy: Islamic militants have migrated there and are doing there worst to stop any evolution toward democracy (much like the Bush Administration was until Sistani called for direct elections). They're there and must be stopped by someone.

So the question remains: How do we concieve of a withdrawal policy that smuthers the flames of legitimate resistance (against occupation, privatization, etc.) without giving undue influence and power to those that would either turn Iraq back into a fascist dungeon or into a Islamic fundamentalist theocracy through violence and intimidation?

This is where the left should be putting their energy at this moment in time.