Sunday, July 30, 2006

Our Responsibility to Iraq

For me, there are primarily two reasons the U.S. military must stay in Iraq: our moral obligation to the Iraqi people and the likelihood that a failed Iraq will become the next safehaven for al Qaeda and other fellow travelers to export terrorism. Frank Rich agrees with the first reason, but with legitimate skepticism.
But it's the collapse of the one remaining (and unassailable) motivation that still might justify staying the course in Iraq - as a humanitarian mission on behalf of the Iraqi people - that is most revealing of what a moral catastrophe this misadventure has been for our country. The sad truth is that the war's architects always cared more about their own gradiose political and ideological ambitions than they did about the Iraqis, and they communicated that indifference from the start to Iraqis and Americans alike. The legacy of that attitude is that the American public cannot be rallied to the Iraqi cause today, as the war reaches its treacherous endgame.
The frightful thing about Iraq is that even if we do not stay for the first reason, we will stay for the second reason. So as the U.S. military continues to occupy Iraq to keep it from becoming the "new Afghanistan," "collateral damage" will spiral even more out of control thereby creating more insurgents. This is rightfully described as a disaster and probably the worst thing I can write is I do not see a solution that can achieve both objectives outlined above. We have lost whatever legitimacy we originally had with the Iraqi people which ensures the U.S. will only sacrifice the blood of insurgents, civilians, and America's young in a war with no end in sight and with incoherent justifications and objectives.

Iraq is a meatgrinder of American making.