Four years of occupation later and still we do not seem to understand what is going on. History is replete with examples, but who reads history anymore? Unless they are utterly exterminated, occupied peoples fight back! They fight by any means at their disposal, and they often set aside old quarrels until the invaders are gone.
We have set up, and encouraged, a civil war in Iraq by our actions. One of these days, the Iraqis are going to figure this out and then, God help us. The Sunnis and the Shiites have been religious parties at odds with each other since a generation after the death of Mohammed. At times they have fought, and at other times they have divided up territory to each live in, in peace. Though they do not agree, and probably never will, they have been known to set aside their quarrel to beat off an enemy. Read the history of the Crusades. It reads much like the current war in Iraq. Eventually, the Crusaders were driven into the sea and the occupation of the "Holy Land" was over for about seven hundred years.
Until we started to try to impose our own values upon the Middle East, Christians and Jews lived in peace in the Muslim countries. This was true during the time of the Crusades. We (the Crusaders) solved that by killing everyone in the cities we captured. It did not take long before Christians and Jews were driven out or killed by the Muslims.
Afghanistan has been swallowing armies since the time of Alexander. The Afghans are fiercely independent tribal societies. They have warred with each other for thousands of years over territory, wealth, or any other reason. It has been a sort of blood sport with them. When threatened by an outside army, they band together until the foe is driven off and they can get back to their normal occupation. We aided the Afghans with money, weapons and training in modern warfare, to help them drive off the Russian invaders. Eventually, the war got so costly in men and materials that the Russians left. We then stepped in and took the Russians' place so the Afghans are now united against us, with that technology at their disposal.
You cannot make democratic consumers of western goods and ideas out of people by blowing them up, destroying their cities and villages and starving them. It didn't work for the Nazis, the CCCP, and it will not work for US. All we will reap from this adventure in imperialism is an increasing loss of life, increasing hatred and contempt for the United States, and eventually, the bankrupting of the United States, turning us into the largest third world Banana Republic dictatorship on the planet.
It would be a fairly simple thing to declare a cease fire in Iraq, with no military actions except in self-defense, and begin to pull our troops out of Iraq. There would probably be an instant reduction in violence in Iraq, once they were convinced we were in earnest. All that is needed is for the Congress to reverse the permission they unconstitutionally gave to the Cheney/Bush regime to wage war, and cut off the funds for all except that needed to withdraw our forces from Iraq.
As an incentive to do this, I would like to see a clock placed on the wall of every committee room and cloak room in Congress, and a large one over the speaker's podium in each House. The clock would count, not the hours, but every tick would signify the death of another of our kids. If they had this before them in all their deliberations, perhaps they would begin to consider something other than the perennial "Who can I suck up to to get the money and influence to win the next election?" Right now, that is all the politicians are worried about. Every other situation is mere lip service. Window dressing. They are not concerned about change or ending the war; they want to win the next election!
They have the power to bring this nightmare to an end now. By timidly suggesting that, maybe, perhaps, we can end the war next year, we are condemning at least a thousand to fifteen hundred more kids to death, and maybe another ten thousand to being shattered and maimed. That is not to mention the tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans that will die or be wounded and made homeless.
I am unable to fathom the minds that can consider expending that many more kids, just to be at the same place we are now, ending the war and bringing the survivors home.
I urge everyone who cares, to write your senators, your congressmen, the newspapers, even send things into the black hole that is the White House. True, none, or very few, of their kids are at risk, but ours are, and more every day this criminal madness is perpetuated.