Iraq: The Road from Here

Senator Clinton, a Democrat of New York, skated between the shades of anti-war sentiment in her party by promising not to defund the war but threatening to defund the Iraqi government. “I would never cut off funding for our soldiers in harm’s way,” she said. “But I would sure cut money for Iraqi troops. I don’t know how else to get their attention.” [Source: The New York Sun]

This should probably frighten me but Senator Clinton’s position is the most sensible that I’ve heard. Senator Clinton does not support President Bush’s troop surge. Fine. That’s a political necessity. She has to say that for political survival. However, Senator Clinton will not support defunding of President Bush’s plan. Good. Pulling funding, freezing funding, messing with funding in any way will ultimately cost the soldier, sailor, marine and airman on the ground. One way or the other.

And then comes the kicker. The part I think is actually unique and original in this debate. Senator Clinton sends a very clear message to the government of Iraq. Figure it out and straighten out or the money will dry up. Senator Clinton proposes action in the arena where she and the other politicians should be focusing their attention. Iraqi politics. Say what you will about Senator Clinton, I believe that she is on the right track here.

I believe that the vast majority of Iraqis would like to just get on with their lives. They’d like to have a job or a business where they make enough money to provide for their family and are able to afford the occasional luxury. I believe that the majority of Iraqis are trying desperately to find some sense of normalcy amidst the chaos of extremists, insurgents, Coalition forces, a completely collapsed economy, a failed infrastructure and all the rest that is Iraq today. Whose fault is the current situation? We could probably draw a fault line all the way back to the Ottoman empire. Maybe farther. That will not help us significantly in resolving the issues we face today.

The way forward in Iraq can be reduced to two issues. Regional security, internal and external and the development of a viable government. President Bush’s proposed troop surge is an attempt to address the issue of security. Parallel to improving security within Iraq, the government of Iraq must be held accountable for its action and its progress toward true independence. Senator Clinton is the first that I have heard of to offer a proposal that would force the Iraqi government to account for its actions.

Ultimately, I believe that the United States is responsible for the safety and welfare to the Iraqi citizens. The United States created an environment in which sectarian militants are able to operate. Through the actions of the current administration the United States become responsible for the Iraqi people. Withdrawing US troops from the region might end US deaths there. It will not end Iraqi deaths. It will only make it easier for the United States to ignore what is happening there. Moreover, the instability that will follow will very likely have a negative affect on the world economy. With instability, oil production will be put at risk. This is the American interest that has the United States involved in the region in the first place.

President Bush. Members of Congress. Put the politics aside and find a united way forward! That was the message of the last election.


[posted with ecto]

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