The Iraq War Isn’t Over

Invading Iraq was one of the Bush administration’s worst mistakes. It is a waste of blood and treasure to send troops to a country that never attacked us and poses no security threat. I’ve been looking forward to the day when President Obama would announce that misguided war’s end.

Today is that day. He has declared an official end to combat operations. But the announcement rings hollow.  There are still 50,000 troops in Iraq. They are still being fired upon. They are still firing back. Their lives are still at risk every day. That sounds an awful lot like “combat operations.”

Iraq will be a free country some day. But that requires massive institutional reform. That kind of sea-level change will take a generation or more. And it has to come from within. It cannot be imposed from without by a foreign army.

Armies can fight wars. They cannot build nations. Freedom is not a top-down construction. It is a bottom-up process. It is well past time to withdraw all troops from Iraq and put a real end to combat operations.

America does have a role in Iraq’s future. Engaging in trade and commerce with Iraqis will help build the economy there, while benefiting consumers in both countries. Tourism and cultural exchange can build up good will for a nation currently viewed by many Iraqis as an occupier.

Most importantly, intellectual exchange can give Iraq’s future leaders an understanding of liberalism that they can make their own and adapt to Iraq’s unique circumstances.

It’s a long and messy road. But nobody can take the first step until combat operations actually end. We are still 50,000 troops away from that noble goal.

2 responses to “The Iraq War Isn’t Over

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Iraq War Isn’t Over | Inertia Wins! -- Topsy.com

  2. I confess I was all for the Iraq War when we went in. It didn’t have anything to do with weapons of mass destruction, though we know, whether we found them or not, that they existed. Just ask the Kurds who survived being gassed. I was tired of watching embassies, cafes, ships and then our towers being blown up with little or no reaction from us. I thought going into Iraq, since Hussein was such a jerk anyway and had such a murderous clamp on the Iraqi people, would send a message to the Islamic terrorists: Mess with us again and this could be you, buddy. It would also put a dent in their pride, which, as anyone who has studied Arab culture, knows, is of supreme importance.

    What I didn’t consider was an exit strategy. What I didn’t think about, as the picture you display shows, was that parents would be losing their children; children their parents; friends their friends.

    What I didn’t consider was that we were attempting to fight an ‘honorable’ war with people who hide behind women and children and plant IED’s by the side of the road in the carcasses of dead animals.

    What I didn’t consider was a people who live a life a religious life so deprived of any pleasure that death to them is preferable to life.

    I learned a valuable lesson: Give people the information about liberty and then let them decide their own fate.

    But I also learned that if it’s necessary to fight, do it hard, do it fast and get out. If they need to rebuild their country, let them do it themselves.

    No matter what America does, or how many times it has come to the aid of Muslims while the rest of Europe stood by and watched the ethnic cleansing going on in their own backyard, we will be hated.

    And so it goes. I find myself growing more isolationist. Let us all worry about what’s going on in our own countries unless we are directly attacked.
    Then let the attackers worry about us.

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