Friday, August 26, 2005

Iraq's Islamic Predators Would Love Our Immediate Withdrawal

TIME magazine has an interesting article in their latest edition detailing the murder spree occurring across Baghdad. According to TIME's Tim McGirk:
A murder spree has erupted in Washash, as in countless neighborhoods across Baghdad. Death squads, which tend to move in Opel sedans, are entering what once were tight-knit communities and killing ordinary citizens, apparently to stir up sectarian hatred. The goal: to incite a civil war that each side hopes will give its sect dominance over the other. In Baghdad, a city of more than 5 million, there were at least 880 violent deaths last month, according to Faiq Amin Bakr, director of the Baghdad central morgue. (In New York City, with a population of more than 8 million, the total number of homicides for all of 2004 was 571.) And the figure for Baghdad excludes those killed by car bombings and suicide attacks, which, if included, would add nearly 100 to the total. Most of the victims were felled by gunshots. Some were beheaded. Few of the murderers have been captured. "Nobody knows who is doing this killing," says Bakr. "It seems they're trying to destroy our society."...[T]he violence in this neighborhood is an extension of the war the U.S. is waging against Iraqi insurgents. If the direct attacks on American troops are aimed at driving the U.S. out, the killings in Washash are a grim portent of the kind of chaos that may lie in Iraq's future, whether or not U.S. soldiers stay on in force. "If the U.S. troops leave, we will have a civil war," says a Sunni ex-army officer who prefers not to reveal his name. "It will go on until one sect wipes out the other."
The risk of civil war and the possibility that the most violent extremists in Iraq could eventually gain power is why the bereaved calls of mothers of the fallen for immediate withdrawal from Iraq are misguided. While I agree with Sheehan that Bush lied and manipulated the American public into supporting an ill-advised and immoral war, the U.S. government as well as the American public have a deep moral responsibility in making sure Iraq does not become a failed state run rife with murderous Islamic militants. Again, it was our illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq that gave rise to the present conditions.

Also, this is better for the West's collective security for an Iraq infested with political Islamists with certainly use the anarchical country as a base to destabilize surrounding Middle Eastern countries. Now I want to make clear that doesn't mean the U.S. shouldn't state a draw-down date that will kick Iraq's security forces in the ass so that they can take control of the country's security. We should also be recruiting other countries not affiliated in any way with the occupation to replace our draw-down if need be.

Yet, the tragedy of Iraq, which Sheehan's cry makes apparent, is that the Bush Administration caused a self-fulfilling prophecy: The Islamic terrorists Bush claimed were getting succor from the dictator (and we should be open to the fact that there were probably some) now operate freely and strike American soldiers and any Iraqi that disagrees with their vision with impunity. Nevertheless, if these fanatics are not dealt with now, American soldiers will become a permanent presence on Iraq's sands regardless of which party is in power.

So we shouldn't be so willfully obtuse or self-centered to think that the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops won't play into the hands of Zarqawi and his Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia thugs. And that's the worst possible situation for U.S. and the broader Middle East's security as well as Iraq's civilian population.

QUICK NOTE: Another aspect of this discussion of withdrawal that gets short thrift is that if the GOP stays in power, we'll never fully withdrawal from Iraq because we'll be putting down an array of military bases to ensure "Middle Eastern stability," or wink, wink, control of and access to oil reserves.