What Tack for Iraq?

One of the reasons I don’t post often is that I try to offer my own insight and opinion on things. That takes time to first construct in my mind and then write down in some cognitive form. However, some times things appear that are complete in their own right. Such is the case with Mr. McCain’s recent statements about US involvement in Iraq. Two quotes from an article in the Los Angeles Times (read more | digg story) sum up completely the situation that we face in Iraq today.

“I do not believe that anyone should make promises as a candidate for president that they cannot keep if elected,” he said. “To promise a withdrawal of our forces from Iraq, regardless of the calamitous consequences to the Iraqi people, our most vital interests and the future of the Middle East, is the height of irresponsibility” and “a failure of leadership.”

Exactly right. A premature withdrawal of US Forces from Iraq would not lead to peace. It would lead to absolute disaster for the Iraqi people and, very likely, for the people of the Middle East as a whole. How then do we know when it is time for US Forces to withdraw from Iraq? I believe that Mr. McCain answered that question as well.

“Success in Iraq is the establishment of a generally peaceful, stable, prosperous, democratic state that poses no threat to its neighbors and contributes to the defeat of terrorists.”

What becomes of Iraq is the responsibility of the United States. Not the Republican party of the United States. Not George W Bush of the United States. What becomes of Iraq and the Iraqi people is the responsibility of the United States. Iraq is slowly but surely figuring out what it means and what is required to maintain a stable, democratic government. They have a long way to go. Their success is our responsibility, their failure will be, at least in part, our fault.

“It’s a failure of leadership to support an open-ended occupation of Iraq that has failed to press Iraq’s leaders to reconcile, badly overstretched our military, put a strain on our military families, set back our ability to lead the world, and made the American people less safe,’’ Mr. Obama said in a statement released by his campaign. ( read more )

Mr. Obama’s reply is rather disingenuous in my opinion. Occupations — reconstruction is a better description of what is happening in Iraq today — are always open ended. There is no way to know when the reconstruction will be finished. Iraq’s leaders are struggling the reconcile. Democrats want us to believe that reconciliation could happen overnight, which is utterly unrealistic. It has put a strain on our military and their families. However, that reflects a need for radical change of our military to face a post Cold War environment, not an abandonment of our responsibilities. And lastly, I believe that America is leading the world.

Aloha

[posted with ecto]

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