18 August 2005 at 3:43:26 PM
We listened last night to Chet Edwards parrot lines that are favorite among both Republicans and war-mongering Democrats. One is that we're there now, so we have to stay and give the Iraqi's an opportunity for democracy. Another is, despite a recognition that the terrorists were not in Iraq initially, they're there now, so we have to stay. The third is that the world in general would think we are wimps that would give in to terrorist attacks if we left.
We don't agree and have an analogy to explain our belief.
You live on a quiet block but not all the neighbors get along. You hear one day from your next door neighbor that one neighbor is going to firebomb your house and you decide that you will, first, get a big club, and a gun and attack him. Besides, you like the children in his large family, even if you don't like the house-holder. You march down the street, kick open the door, and shoot up the house, which starts a fire in the kitchen, puts holes in the water pipes, and kill some of the children. You hunt for the bomb in his house but it's not there, and you then find out that there never was and your next door neighbor was lying to you because he had a personal grudge against the other man. Some of the people in the house try their best to get you out, but you kill some of them. Some of the other neighbors are angry with you and, while they weren't attacking you before, they are now because they think you're a crazy bully, guilty of the same thing you accused the neighbor of. You tell the house you're not leaving until you help them defend themselves against the neighbors and others in the house that want you out. They ask, when will you leave? You tell them, I'm not going to tell you, if I do, then the neighbors will think I'm a wimp for leaving.
What you refuse to see is that the neighborhood thinks you're an egotistical, crazy man who has gone off half-cocked, that you have brought on the fighting because of your own aggressive actions and they'd like you a whole lot better, respect you more, and find you reasonable if you quit occupying your neighbor's house, which you should never have shot up in the first place.
On a secondary note, the United States has now acknowledged that Iraq will not be a democracy but an Islamic republic. From an article entitled "US lowers sights on what can be achieved in Iraq":
The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society where the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.
"What we expected to achieve was never realistic, given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."
We set out to establish a democracy, but we're slowly realizing we will have some form of Islamic republic," said another U.S. official familiar with policymaking from the beginning, who like some others interviewed would speak candidly only on the condition of anonymity. "That process is being repeated all over."
U.S. officials now acknowledge that they misread the strength of sentiment among Kurds and Shiites to create a special status. The Shiites' request this month for autonomy to be guaranteed in the constitution stunned the Bush administration, even after more than two years of intense intervention in Iraq's political process, they said.
"We didn't calculate the depths of feeling in both the Kurdish and Shiite communities for a winner-take-all attitude," said Judith Yaphe, a former CIA Iraq analyst at the National Defense University.
In the race to meet a sequence of fall deadlines, the process of forging national unity behind the constitution is largely being scrapped, current and former officials involved in the transition said.
"We are definitely cutting corners and lowering our ambitions in democracy building," said Larry Diamond, a Stanford University democracy expert who worked with the U.S. occupation government and wrote the book "Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq."
"Under pressure to get a constitution done, they've lowered their own ambitions in terms of getting a document that is going to be very far-reaching and democratic. We also don't have the time to go through the process we envisioned when we wrote the interim constitution — to build a democratic culture and consensus through debate over a permanent constitution," he said.
According to Mr. Edwards, we need to give Iraq an opportunity for a stable democracy. That we have done and that job is over. The Iraqis are using their power as a sovereign nation to craft a constitution that will remain faithful to their Islamic principles.
We also question whether the United States is truly planning to leave Iraq. Ever. Mr. Edwards knows how much defense spending is and has been allocated to build permanent military bases inside Iraq. This leaves the United States in the position of occupiers even if a faux pullout with a showing of returning troops is staged before the 2006 elections. Even now, Democrat leaders and Republicans both are calling for troop returns, but we want it not to be phony troop returns done in order to appease an increasingly disturbed public which has turned against the Iraq War.
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