Massachusetts Election & Iraq

From today's Boston Globe

"Voters in more than one-third of Massachusetts' cities and towns will get a rare chance to register their opinion on the war in Iraq next month when they consider a ballot question on whether the United States should immediately withdraw all troops."


Jeff said...

I wonder if such a question will stipitulate a plan for what might occur in Iraq following a US troop withdrawl. Personally, I was against both the concept and initiation of the war in Iraq. However, I also felt that the stability of that nation became our responsibility from the moment we outsted Saddam from power.

As such, it does not seem fair to me for us to withdraw our forces without first finding a way to create a more peaceable situation in what is becoming an open civil war. Motivating an international force to replace our presence, particularly one with arab/muslim troops participating, is in my view the only morally acceptable position in the current crisis. If the question simply appeared as, "Are you in favor of US troop withdrawl?" I would be forced to say "No", despite my complete lack of faith in Bush foreign policy.

This is what upsets me about the position of many critics of the war. I was opposed to the war because I felt it would bring pain and suffering to the Iraqi people, which is has. I am of the belief, however, that us simply leaving would do nothing but increase that pain and suffering, as no clear leader exists to replace us and an indefinite power vacuum may ensue.

If an alternative to protecting the Iraqi people from such chaos is not proposed, then anyone advocating troop withdrawl may as well be placing the country's head on a chopping block.

Michael Corcoran said...

While nobody can say exactly what will follow if leave, I concur, that leaving is not a perfect solution.

While we don't know for sure what will happen if we leave, we do know what will happen if we stay: more bloodshed, more maimed soldiers and civillians, and the spawning of more terrorists.

But their are likely benefits to leaving.

Certainly, if the US pulled out of Iraq, the major recruiting tool used by Al Qaeda and other insurgent groups, would be marginalized.

Secondly, a majority of Iraqis support violence against US troops, and more than 80 percent are opposed to the US presence in Iraq.

So the "bringing democracy to the people" justification fails to hold water. By staying we fuel more antimosity from Iraqis. In short, we have lost the battle for the hearts and minds of Iraqis. And we have lost badly. This is not defeatism, but pragmatism.

Third, the quality of life is deteriorating as the occupation lingers. THe ever-increasing violence means parents cannot allow their kids to leave the house, electricity is way down, public services are nowhere near pre-invasion levels,

To steal a line from Howard Zinn: the definition of fantacism, is when you realize you are going in the wrong direction, and you redouble your speed.

And lastly, we could use a mere fraction of what we are spending by staying into helping ot fund the reconstruction of Iraq. We owe the Iraqi people big time for the horror that has been brought to them. George McGovern has a great piece in this month's Harper's on this very issue, where he notes that we could provide compensation to the families of killed innocent civillians with the amount of money we spend in just a few days in Iraq.

I think that tactic, imperfect the result, would certainly do more for our credibility around the world, than maintaning our ill-fated occupation.

Jeff said...

I certainly agree with you that "staying the course" is unacceptable. But I believe an unconditional withdrawl, which you refer to as "not a perfect solution", is equally unacceptable. What will happen can easily be stipitulated by coupling Iraqi history with the current sectarian violence. We must find a solution that both reduces American involvement while increasing security and order to prevent a violent civil war.