Monday, February 25, 2008

Retrospective

Having a full life means that keeping up a blog often falls down the list of things to do. At this time, I'd like to just look back on Iraq. Why are we in Iraq? It is basically for two reasons:

1. Saddam. You can cloud the issue, but Saddam was basically a Hitler in waiting with a military to match his ambitions. He had to be taken out before he did far more harm to neighboring countries and his own people. His people were forced to breathe, eat and drink Saddam. Just look to North Koreans to see what having too long of this type of indoctrination does.

2. An unwillingness to repeat the past of colonial nations to just do what they want and leave. With all the complaints now about the USA staying in Iraq, the complaints would probably have been far worse if the USA just took out Saddam and left. The region is strife with actions of colonizing nations, including the USA, going in doing what they want and leaving the area far too soon. If the USA was truly going to repeat the history of colonizing nations, it would have never made elections a priority nor would it have cared about Iraq after taking out Saddam and his military. The USA truly wants to make Iraq a better place for its people because when it succeeds in doing this in the past (e.g., Japan, South Korea, Germany, etc.), it ends up being better for the USA. Unfortunately in Iraq, the level of infiltration of saboteurs against the USA (Iran, Al Quaida, radical Shiites, radical Sunnis) is far higher than in previous attempts.

So what's going to happen in the future? Iraq is gradually settling down and lower level priorities beyond damage control are starting to get attention. There are still hotspots like Mosul and relatively low level violence, but Iraq is still one country politically and even the worst critics of the Iraq occupation admit that things are getting better. There will be a point when the Iraqi security forces will be able to take over completely from the USA, and it looks like it will be sooner than later. The key to Iraq's future are in the hands of its leaders, chosen by its people. Despite what's in the news, the politicians are still talking to each other, and they are negotiating although it sometimes looks like fracturing in the headlines. As long as they keep talking, Iraq is on the road to recovery no matter what pressures outside countries put on it.

4 comments:

-TBAS said...

yes, you have been gone for a while.

Ian said...

I disagree with many of these statements, but I admire your optimism nonetheless.

Sang J. Moon said...

Get specific. I love a good debate.

Ian said...

Ah, I forgot about this post. First, you gave two reasons why we are in Iraq, both of which are wrong. We are in Iraq because of non-existent weapons of mass destruction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UnrbDdT0xM. If you can listen to this and get anything coherent out of this you are a much smarter man than I am. If we were really interested in WMD deterrence then we should have attacked Korea or Iran, both of whom were light years ahead of Saddam in developing weapons of mass destruction. Right?

You are the first person who has ever suggested that Saddam ever had anything remotely resembling a capable army. The Iran-Iraq war bled Iraq's army out so bad that they were an empty shell by the time Desert Storm came and even more of a shell in the embargo years that followed which made their crushing defeat during OIF I an inevitable conclusion. Having worked with the Iraqi Army for a year I can assure you they had no functioning command and control, much less esprit de corps or anything else that might be misconstrued for motivation. If you still don't believe me you should check out the U.S. Army or the Marine Corps' lessons learned that are being written by the MiTTs (Miliatry Transition Teams) being tasked with fixing/establishing the Iraqi military.

We never planned to occupy Iraq and we are still there due to our short-sightedness so I'm not sure how you can suggest such altruistic reasons for our lingering presence. The truth is that we are still there because we under committed troops, abolished the Iraqi military and law enforcement capabilities and now we are stuck with the results of our bad decisions. If you ever want to hear a good story about us having to abandon former Iraqi Army weapons depots due to not having enough people on the ground, I'd be glad to indulge you. You can imagine what happened to the weapons once we left. Didn't Powell say something about using overwhelming force when committing U.S. troops? Come to think of it, so did Shinseki which is why he got canned. So, my point is, we are in Iraq because Bush and his lackeys made some stupid decisions and didn't listen to their military commanders.

In regards to the optimism you feel, well as I said before, I admire your optimism but think it's premature. Just because people are voting and fewer coalition and Iraqis are dying doesn't mean things are well. There are no doctors, lawyers, engineers, educators, bureaucrats, etc. to help rebuild the country. Ok, there are a few that stuck it out and stayed but the most educated and qualified professionals necessary to rebuild a country have long since departed and/or been killed and aren't coming back in significant numbers. Tens of thousands of Iraqis hacked each other to death for reasons no more significant than one was Sunni and the other was Shia. The Kurds don't even let the Iraqi Army in their country and the remaining Christians are being slaughtered now. Arabs have long memories and they will not just let this animosity go so I can't imagine that we have seen the end of this. Democracy is not for everyone and it is optimistic indeed to think that Iraq will be the first Arab country to get it right.