Only Way Out Of Iraq
By Mirza A. Beg
14 November, 2006
mid-term congressional elections gave a thrashing to the Republican
congress, because it failed its primary duty of oversight of the executive
branch gone amuck. The electorate should have sent this message to Bush
two years ago. Unfortunately most Americans are against the Bush policy
in Iraq, not because it is wrong, but because it is not succeeding.
Unless we understand; the invasion of Iraq was not only unwise but also
immoral based on lies, we cannot formulate a well thought out exit strategy.
In the throes of mid-term
congressional elections with his approval ratings in the tank, Bush
junked the inane phrase, “Stay the course”, to the dust
heap of slogans, such as “Shock and awe”, that awed Americans
and shocked the world in its inane cruelty; and the fascistic phrase
“If you are not with us you are against us”, that left no
choice to thoughtful decent people, but to be morally against us. Remember
the abuses heaped on France and Germany. Finally the reality dawned.
Two days after an unequivocal support for Rumsfeld, Bush dumped him.
It is time to revisit our
options in Iraq. Not that it is a mystery, exactly three years ago in
November 2003, I wrote “There are only five options for the US
in Iraq and none of them are good.”
“1- The military should
be patient in response to the attacks because the guerrillas vanish
in the population and innocent people are hurt. This frustrates the
soldiers and strengthens the guerrillas garnering support from successes.
“2- Draconian response
to flush out the guerrillas and intimidate civilians into cooperation,
engendering greater hatred for the US. Helping the US means inviting
attacks. Iraqi policemen helping the occupation are considered collaborators
targeted by the guerrillas.”
“3- Fast Iraqification,
similar to Vietnamization. New recruits will inevitably attract infiltrators
to sabotage the effort. This will help the US to cut and run rather
than leaving a stable democratic Iraq.”
“4- Troops from other
countries. No Islamic government will cooperate. US policy is seen as
anti-Muslim. Europeans stung by the Bush deceit oppose the occupation,
even the Spaniards are withdrawing. No country wants to send its citizens
to be killed in a war it opposed.”
“5- Get the UN involved.
UN will take part only if the US yields the civilian authority and still
foots the bill. This will be open-ended, complete reversal of the Bush
policy, full of long-term uncertainty.”
The first option was never
tried. It is too late now. To the Neocon bullies, there was no substitute
for a quick victory based on intimidation. Though individual commanders
tried in local piecemeal efforts, but were stymied by the bullies of,
“If you are not with us you are against us”, crowd. Thus,
all Iraqis with any feeling of dignity were lumped as enemies, and eventually
they became enemies.
The second option was tried
with fanfare. The celebrated destruction of Faluja and many smaller
cities, while the world watched in horror; dropping of thousand pound
bombs in densely populated areas; killing of more than a hundred thousand
innocent civilians; the horrible pictures from Abu Graib became the
poster of Bush doctrine on torture. Most Iraqis, happy at the tyrant’s
downfall, slowly realized that though under brutal Saddam, there was
no political liberty at least the streets were safe. If they kept quiet,
they could have a reasonably good lively-hood. Now the living is a nightmare,
and Bush keeps trumpeting that we are fighting terrorists in Iraq so
that all the killing is done there to keep us safe here. Iraqis are
listening intently; they realize that Iraqi lives are expendable in
The third option of Iraqification
similar to Vietnamization has been in the works for about two years.
According to the Pentagon more than two hundred thousand have been recruited
in the Iraqi military. Most have joined because there is no other livelihood.
Many Iraqis, viscerally against the US occupation have infiltrated the
new military. That is why they are not trusted by the US command in
Iraq, and can not perform independently. There is no way that Iraqis
will like or trust us, after more than three years of horror that Bush
has wrought on Iraqis, in our name.
The last two options are
effectively a defeat of the Bush doctrine and by extension, the defeat
of the mindless naked power that the rest of the world considers to
be neo-Imperialism. But these are the only feasible courses to get out
of an unending carnage. The neighboring countries have a natural interest
in a stable Iraq. They can be persuaded to help stabilize Iraq under
the aegis of the UN, only if convinced that the US will bear the enormous
open ended expenses, but will not interfere in their decision making
councils. It sounds expensive and a defeat of Bush doctrine, given the
bravado and self delusion of Bush and his coterie, but the alternative
is endless war that fuels terrorism.
Almost as many American soldiers
have been killed in Iraq as the victims of 9/11. According to a prestigious
study about 600,000 Iraqis have lost their lives, thanks to Bush and
his mandate from “God”, through the powerful Armageddon
seeking wing of the Christian right. Millions of Iraqis have been displaced
because of the resulting civil war. To the Pentagon under Bush, the
Iraqi lives do not matter. The quibbling over how many innocent Iraqis
died, by those who do not even care to count the Iraqi dead is obnoxious.
It is time to learn from
our recent history. Defeat of an immoral policy is better than following
the corrupt policies to endless wars. Had we not been defeated in Vietnam,
we would still be “winning”, the mirage of victory, perpetually
just around the corner, 12 to 18 months away. These were the lies; we
were fed adnauseam by the administrations then and now. Contrary to
the dire predictions of doom of American prestige, the defeat in Vietnam
liberated us and the Vietnamese to find new and better life to grow,
prosper and even become friends.
The failure is evident to
all who can reason. As predicted our bungling leader has not only landed
the sole super power in an un-winnable quagmire in Iraq, but now even
Afghanistan is on the skids, spiraling towards chaos.
Another slogan that ensnared
the Americans, “Failure is not an option”, needs to be sent
to the junk-yard of Fascism. It simply means, “Victory at any
cost”. This should be an anathema in a moral, democracy. We need
to stand up for our morals and values and say, “hundreds of thousands
of innocent lives lost through a policy that kills innocent civilians
and creates more terrorists is too high a price to pay. No, we will
not be a part of that immoral, mindless travesty.”
Mirza A. Beg can be contacted
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