Time to leave the Middle East to the Middle East. Let them fight it out. Oil will flow from the area no matter what. They need the money. Leave the Russians and the Chinese to fund the regimes there. The west needs to stay out of thier politics in every way.
Interesting. We are also heading towards an election here and I suspect that one of the outcomes of the election campaign (not of the election itself, because they generally achieve nothing) is that Australia will pull its troops out of Iraq in the foreseeable future, because it has finally become clear to even the dimmest of observers that we are completely wasting our time there. I am fairly certain that Little Johnny would bring the boys back home now if he weren't so scared of Big George, because public opinion is fast moving towards doing so. But that star is on the wane too and I have noticed that people who have either stayed quiet during sessions mocking The King of the Free World or have defended him are now at least shaking their heads quietly every time he appears on TV, or are openly stating that he is an idiot, so maybe this will happen sooner rather than later.
What is clear is that we can never win The War on Terror by killing the local citizenry. The only way we can squash terrorism is to fight fire with fire and that will never happen, because we have to wear the white hat and do everything above board and according to the rules. An enemy that won't play by the rules can never truly be beaten. A soldier that views death as something to be welcomed can never truly be killed. Besides, someone famous who I can't be bothered to Google once said "We have seen the enemy and it is us" (or words to that effect). Worth thinking about.
As bmarkey says, this is not political any more. If only the politicians could get together and agree that the whole thing is fucked and that they need to walk away from the trainwreck without political consequences, maybe something could happen - I think the only thing that keeps the troops in place is that the people who put them there have too much invested in the initial decision. If the other side of politics could agree to not make mileage out of a troop withdrawal and just let it happen without comment, the political animal around the world could do more for their constituents than they could achieve in a lifetime of public service.
I worry about what will happen to Iraq when everyone picks up there toys and goes home. I really do. The possibility of a Sunni or Shi'ite genocide seems very real to me, so I'm just not convinced that sending the troops home is a good thing. I'm so left wing as to almost be a socialist, but I'm not convinced that a withdrawal is a good idea.
The question for me is what can be done that will cause the smallest overall loss of life. Not going to war in the first place would have been ideal, but there's no going back and changing that particularly stupid decision. If withdrawal means the area will stabalise quickly and relatively bloodlessly then I'm for it. If withdrawal means a Rwanda style civil war with over 15,000,000 dead Iraqi's then I don't know how it can be morally justified.
Does anyone know what happened in Vietnam when the Americans decided to leave? Are there any similarities between the civil war that was taking place over there to the one that is taking place in Iraq? Maybe we can draw some conclusions from that if at all they're similar.
(Congratulations on coming out to your husband bunnyfire, and for him to reciprocate the same to you.)
That would be from the old comic strip Pogo, iirc.
Hadjiboy, Vietnam works as an analogy only to a point. Vietnam was about political ideology while the Middle East is that plus religious ideology.
Seanyboy, I share your concerns about the Iraqis who would be left behind. I can't help thinking that no matter what, people will just keep dying. It makes me sick. Saddam was an evil man and I'm not sorry he is gone, but dang....
Does anyone know what happened in Vietnam when the Americans decided to leave?
Yes. Things got quite a bit worse for a while after Saigon fell. The Communist government took over, establishing a dictatorial style of government on the Stalin plan, and also invading and occupying Laos and Cambodia, driving thousands of dissenters, undesirables, and politically targeted people to try to escape Viet Nam as refugees in small boats - they were known as "the boat people." Thousands died at the hands of pirates and torture gangs, but and many of them and their descendants live in the US today.
Of those that didn't leave, many were sent to camps for 're-education' to bring them in line with the regime. Thousands died in the invasions, and the Communist government persecuted and discriminated against minorities, especially the Chinese-Vietnamese. There were your usual imprisonments, harrassments, rapes, and tortures.
Vietnam created a strategic alliance with Russia, further pissing off China, and China invaded Vietnam briefly in the late 70s. A few more years of power struggles ensued. Things only began to change when the Soviet Union entered the period of glasnost and changes were made in Viet Nam's government.
So though the analogy of Iraq to Viet Nam is as imperfect as any war to any other war, the lessons are there: YES, when Americans withdraw, there could be a period of great suffering and misery. There will be power struggles. There will be secret negotiations and missions, with us and other major players taking part under the table. There will be an opportunity for power-hungry people to fill the leadership and security voids. It won't be pretty.
But this is what some of us were saying before we went in. A disorganized society, shortages, and power vacuums are the inevitable aftermath of war, regardless of the cause or of the victor. A society has been disrupted. We have not succeeded in replacing it with a workable alternative. We can either stay in, with the fading hope that one day it's going to work and stablize (which means, to my mind, about a twenty-year occupation) or we can withdraw now and let the chips fall as they may. We failed. There will be an aftermath, and we can either be part of it, or not.
I'm a huge pacifist and I opposed going in. But we do need to consider what happens if we pull out completely. What opportunities will we open up for more anti-Western forces to organize and take hold? What violent regime will replace the one we took out? Is there sufficient will in Iraq for a democratic republic to survive? I don't think so. Pulling out sucks. It's likely people will go hungry, get raped, die. However, they are doing it now. Unless we are willing to commit to being a long-term occupying force, we shouldn't stay, but we'll also have to recognize that then we give up whatever leverage we do have about what is going on politically and terror-wise in that part of the Middle East.
It's not easy stuff. There are no happy endings when you start a war. Rah rah!