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Staying In or Pulling Out

No, this editorial isn’t about sex, it’s about the quote-unquote never actually declared war by Congress War in Iraq. C Ra McGuirt (of Penny Dreadful Press) just passed around emails to his group of friends about the Iraq war, and I wrote an insanely long paragraph in response. (Keep in mind that this was an email response, and I was just babbling with some stream-of-consciousness email blather here…)
Because you see, this is the funniest thing, C Ra McGuirt and I have been writing back and forth a lot recently (I’ve been working on a book release of his right now, actually), and we have been writing these long drawn-out emails to each other talking about everything from abortion rights to the legalization of drugs, to the Iraq war, to infidelity in married couples (I tell you, they’re long daily emails). And when I started writing what little I had to say about the currents state of the Iraq War, I rambled on and on, and brought up a lot of points that I think might need discussing:

Just watched Bush’s last State of the Union address last night. In my opinion, I think it was a bad idea to go to Iraq in the first place, Saddam Hussein might have been a bad guy, but a part of me still didn’t understand why we didn’t just kill him in the Gulf War in 1990 (my husband told me we couldn’t, because we were there on a UN mission and could not harm him because of the terms of engagement and because Saddam Hussein was the leader of a nation). I knew back on ‘03 that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, and the Americans really WERE out for Bin Laden’s blood, but I saw no connection between Iraq and Bin Laden, so I thought it was a bad idea to divert us to Iraq. (That part of this paragraph is about as far left I get on the political scale). But now that we’ve been there screwing up the country so much, we MAY have stopped terrorists from being there (which is good), but if we just altogether pick up and leave right now I’m confident that any terrorist groups would just come right back in and settle in very comfortably (you know, to set up shop, so to speak). I think that although in general I love the sensibilities of Ron Paul (used to be a Libertarian, but switched over to being a Republican, and I think it was so he would have a better chance of being elected to any office in government), I think Ron Paul’s idea of pulling our troops out altogether immediately is a bad idea. I mean, we kept forces in Germany and Korea for I don’t know how long (there may still be residual forces kept there, although pushed to a minimum because of Carter). And although Germany wasn’t going to bounce back and attack America years after WWII, we still have an Air Force bas and an Army base in Germany. So although it might not have been a good idea for us to be in Iraq, on many levels we totally screwed the country up, and now we have to clean it up so it doesn’t become worse than when we entered it (at least for our own security reasons).

So then I thought, this dates me, saying I just watched the State of the Union address last night, when the State of the Union was January 28th of 2008, but in listening to all of the people (in January) still trying to take a hold of their party’s nomination for the 2008 Presidential election (when this prints in cc&d, remember that in the beginning of 2008 the Democratic front runners were Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama and John Edwards before Edwards backed out of the election 01/31 and the Republican front runners were Mitt Romney, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and trailing behind them was ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who pulled out of the campaign after the Florida Primaries, and Ron Paul — the Libertarian-come-Republication that a lot of people latched onto right away…). And all of these people (with their plethora or problems) have an opinion about the war, and every Democrat wants to pull us out of Iraq. (Granted, the Republicans want us to stat in Iraq to “finish the job,” but knowing what some of the Republican contenders have recently said, their position on Iraq actually isn’t the real reason we should not elect them).
And then I thought, hey, I am not going to write another editorial about this, because I have already written too many editorials about the Iraq war. But then I looked back, and I think I may have only written about Iraq two or three times, and that was back in 2004. So what the Hell, it’s been 4 years, and I won’t talk about the same things. It’s still on everyone’s minds (other than the economy), and we’ve been there longer than we have been in WWII, so why not?

So, as I said in my insanely long email paragraph, I had just listened to the State of the Union address (the final one form President George W. Bush, which Democrats complained was just a rehashing of items he mentioned in many previous State of the Union address: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/wh/rem/99783.htm), and listening to him (a man I don’t particularly support) you still totally got revved up with everything he was saying in his speech. Yes, he is bringing some back — one Army brigade combat team and one Marine Expeditionary Unit have already permanently returned to the States, and in the coming months will pull 4 more brigades and 2 more battalions will return (permanently) if things continue to go well, which means more than 20,000 men will be home. (Granted, 24-hour news reporters were lip reading Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi behind him, guessing that she was saying “not enough” while applauding with everyone.) But President Bush did go on about how the additional troops have been helping to quell any violence in Iraq, and that the troop surge seemed to be going well.
I mean, listen to the man. Things are working there.
So maybe this rate of pulling troops is a good speed to keep our country more secure (trust me, I don’t like the idea of having to keep forces in a country for longer than needed, but if there is a need to stop terrorists from creating a haven when they can work toward attacking us in a country we helped to originally destroy, it might be in our best defensive interests to do it).

Okay, okay, let me check out the opposing opinions on this. I mean, I think I’ve got a pretty sound argument, but let me make sure I’m not missing anything.

Okay, I started searching and found one reason why people think our troops should be pulled form Iraq. From an editorial by Christopher Dols in the Badger Herald called “Troops should pull out of Iraq, now” (http://badgerherald.com/oped/2004/09/30/troops_should_pull_o.php), he makes the argument that our troops are there to “give” the Iraqis democracy (with the help of 140,000 American gunned troops, of course). But the premise of starting this type of government should be that the people of the country are starting the government. “Self-determination is a pretty well defined term. This understanding of sovereignty undermines every argument for establishing democracy in Iraq through military occupation. (Our forces) cannot uphold Iraqi democracy, no matter how polite they are.”
Good point. And oftentimes we have seen that when we have forced a political system down someone’s throat, they may choose someone as a leader that won’t be our ally.
Well, that’s what we get.
Okay, then I found an article by Raed Jarrar and Joshua Holland for AlterNet (http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/64429/) called “Only a U.S. Withdrawal Will Stop Al Qaeda in Iraq.”
Aha. This was what I was looking for.
They started by talking over the phone with “Qasim Al-jumaili, a former member of Falluja’s City Council, who was confident that his local militias would eliminate Al Qaeda in Iraq from Fallujah if U.S. forces were to withdraw. “The U.S. presence is making our work harder,” he said.””
“Al Jumaili was confident that Iraqis wouldn’t tolerate Al Qaeda in Iraq’s presence in an independent Iraq. “If the U.S. was to pull out from Iraq and let Iraqis have a national government instead of the puppet one now, Iraqis with their government and tribal leaders would quickly eliminate Al Qaeda from all Iraq,” he said.”
Hmm. Well, that’s a different spin on things.
So is the answer removing everyone and hoping Iraq will fend the terrorists off themselves? Or should we take out time in pulling out, the way President Bush has been suggesting, just to make sure there is no chance for a terrorist takeover?

Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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