Concentrate on real threats

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, August 19, 2005

The Bush administration presented the invasion of Iraq as a necessary response to terror threats against the United States and as a liberation movement for the Iraqi people. To put the best possible light on American policy towards Iraq since 2001 would be to describe it as misguided and ill-conceived. A less generous view would characterize it as manipulative, dishonest and stupid. However you choose to label it, our policy has been a failure. It has diverted resources from the real terrorist threats against the United States.

Iraqi resisters, both the Baathists and foreign Islamo-fascist fighters, are predominantly Sunni and they believe they benefit from a civil war between Sunnis and Shias. The January election, boycotted by the Sunnis, put all real political power in the hands of the Shias and Kurds. Whatever results from the current constitutional convention, it is naive to believe that there will be meaningful free elections later this year and that an Iraqi central government will be capable of effectively controlling the resistance.

It is also naive to believe that "democracy" can simply be introduced to a country where there is no history or inclination towards any beliefs that can even remotely come close to democratic values: An area where religious and ethnic hatred and intolerance is endemic. Our "friends" in the region, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are about as democratic as our enemies, Syria and Iran.

What we have in Iraq is a civil war where American soldiers are trying to build a nation for the Iraqis while at the same time fighting a local insurgency. Iraq is a country cobbled together by the British early in the last century and kept together by Sadaam through fear, repression and corruption. The current government only continues this corruption.

Until recently I believed an orderly transition of power and withdrawl of American forces was the best exit strategy. I now recognize that there is not a snowball's chance in hell that in 2006 an Iraqi central government can provide anything close to law and order, let alone basic services such as water and electricity.

Our Iraq policy was not and is not worth the death of one American life, let alone the innumerable dead Iraqis. Some wars are worth fighting; some are not. We need to get the hell out of Iraq and concentrate on the real struggle against terrorism.

Alan Schorr


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