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Can We Leave Iraq?

By       Message sameh abdelaziz     Permalink
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An opinion piece by Senator Lieberman published in the Washington Post on December 29, made the case for a troop surge http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/28/AR2006122801055.html.

The Senator's argument for increasing the troop level built on the premise that moderate forces in Iraq is on the rise. These forces are willing to stand to extremism and support America's effort in the war on terror. More security on the ground will buy the time desperately needed to strengthen the moderate elements, which will help facilitate success in Iraq.

While I believe that immediate troop withdrawal is not in the best interest of the United States, I disagree with the recycled rhetoric about extremism, war on terror and moderate forces in the region.

The fact of the matter is, United States forces cannot leave immediately, because recent history taught us that a vacuum would invite undesirable powers to take advantage of the environment, which, over time, will become a force capable of hurting America's interests.

Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups trained and grew their ideology of hatred in the mountains of Afghanistan, after the American administration left abruptly at the end of the Soviet War. The vacuum in Afghanistan is the father of 9/11.

While Iraq was a contained country with a bad leader before our invasion, it is today falling quickly in a deep dark quagmire of civil war and our kids are caught in the middle.

We did not have to go to war in Iraq, but we did. It is broke and we own, it borrowing on Secretary Powell's words.

The geographical location and natural resources in Iraq have the potential to create risks with greater consequences than the ones existed in Afghanistan.

Therefore, with all due respect, to the Senator and the official line from the administration, it is not democracy and victory that we are after, at this point of time, it is self-preservation and risk mitigation, which are more reasonable and acceptable excuses to go to war.

However, even if the American public accepts the argument to stay the course in Iraq, there is a legitimate concern that adding ten to fifteen percent more troops will not drastically alter the facts on the ground. Subsequently the only outcome of a troop surge will be additional bleeding in lives and treasure. In addition, our forces in Iraq are not facing a single enemy but several with different agendas and goals.

The recent poll numbers show over seventy percent of Iraqis believe that American troops are a legitimate target. These numbers are significantly different than the ones which existed immediately after the fall of Baghdad, associated with the image of people celebrating Sadam's statue falling to the ground.

A major step in recovering whatever hope is left for America in Iraq is dependent on understanding and admitting that we did not get where we are overnight. The collapse happened over three years and the monthly count of injured and dead American soldiers is a proof.

The decision to dissolve an army of five hundred thousand to a society with over seventy percent unemployment rate, without planning how all these people will feed their families is an example.

Invading a country without any understanding of the culture, the religious and racial texture of the society is another example.

Failing to develop a formal reconstruction plan ready to use at the end of the military phase is a third example.

Iraq is a war won by our troops and lost by poor management every step of the way.

Therefore, a temporary surge in troop levels will not bring victory or stabilize Iraq, a comprehensive package of governance measures will decide the final fate of our involvement in Iraq unless it is too late, which can be the case.

A strategy for success in Iraq must create an alternative sphere to the current way of life, by addressing basic human needs such as jobs and a secure environment for ordinary people. It will also require a new approach to neutralize regional powers through finding common ground.

In my opinion the Iraq Study Group recommendations are the single viable option with potential for success, it provides a comprehensive plan addressing all aspects of the problem.

To raise or not to raise the troop level is not the question.

The real question is how to change the dynamics on the ground so our troops can succeed in their very difficult mission.

 

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I am an Egyptian American born in Alexandria. I immigrated to the US in the late eighties, during this time lived in many places in US and Europe. I work as an IT manager and love it. I love to travel, it makes me feel young, and it awakes in me (more...)
 

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