Some have asserted that if we leave Iraq, it will amount to abandoning our responsibilities there, and foregoing an opportunity to exert a positive influence in the region.
Of course, The Americna government does not need to exert a “positive influence” if by that one means winning hearts and minds. Such efforts are, as has been demonstrated again and again, futile and self-defeating when those hearts and those minds are Muslim.
Many, furthermore, make the same mistake as Bush has made: they interpret as “having influence” only the doing of certain things, rather than ceasing to do certain things that are now being done and should not be done.
If, for example, the American government were to halt the disguised Jizyah of foreign aid to countries whose governments are meretricious, and whose peoples hate the United States, that would exert the right kind of influence. For the hate of those people is encouraged, not quite paradoxically, by the media campaigns that are either allowed or encouraged by their governments (as in Egypt), or are encouraged by the fact of our aid being seen as propping up despotic governments (Egypt, Pakistan). Or else that aid is misused for the purposes of making war on fellow Infidel lands (all aid to the so-called “Palestinians,” the name given to local Arabs in Gaza and the “West Bank,” falls into that category). Wouldn’t the halting of aid be as much of an influential act as the provision of it was in the first place?
Isn’t educating one’s population about Islam more important now than sending more brigades to Iraq? That may not conform to most people’s idea of “war,” but it matters far more how many people in the West stop accepting the versions of Islam of apologists for Islam, Muslim and non-Muslim, with all the plausible Taqiyya and Tu-Quoque, than how many troops we have trying to bring democracy to a place where virtually no one wants it.
My wish for an American withdrawal from in Iraq has been reinforced by recent news about the shortages in military equipment for training (and in both army and National Guard armories), and from the fact that it now is greatly damaging to military morale. Recently an article appeared noting that 46% of all post-2001 West Point graduates have now left the military. This is an unprecedented figure. And besides those graduates of West Point, many of the best young officers are leaving the services. Who will replace them? How much time and money will go into finding them, and training them? And what of the members of the National Guard and Reserve who are sent back for more than one tour, an unprecedented demand and one which those affected, or many of them, believe violates a clear undertaking on the government’s side? Will they re-enlist? Will they recommend to others that they join the Reserves or National Guard, given the kine of treatment being given them that this Administration apparently thinks it can get away with? Troops are perfectly willing to go to Iraq once. But the severe drop in morale comes when they, after their first tour, having seen Iraq, and the “Iraqis,” and having measured the distance between the hallucinators in Washington (and some of the more pliant generals) with their prattle about the “mission” and “getting the job done” and what their own experience in Iraq, (with their very own boots on the ground), taught them, are asked to go back. Do you think so many have left the service, including those once committed West Point graduates, because they are “scared to fight”? I don’t. I think this can be attributed, rather, to the fact that they have discovered in Iraq that the “mission” is pointless and the waste of American servicemen’s lives at this point is both stupid and cruel.
So shall we “walk away from our responsibilities in Iraq”? What “responsibilities in Iraq”? This is merely a variant on the Friedmanesque “we broke it, we bought it” nonsense. We don’t have “responsibilities” toward anyone but ourselves, to weaken the Camp of Islam and Jihad that threatens our continued existence. We don’t have to try to fix the innate aggression of Muslim peoples and their inability to compromise with each other. That aggression is based on their worldview, which is provided by Qur’an, Hadith, and the example of Muhammad in the Sira. It leads them to view outcomes of warfare always as a matter of Victor and Vanquished. We don’t have a “responsibility” to undo the effects of Islam in order to make Sunnis and Shi’a behave differently. And we couldn’t undo those effects, in that way, no matter how prolonged the effort.
Finally, the Administration was ignorant, and apparently intends to stay ignorant, not only of the fact of sectarian (and ethnic) fissures, but of their depth and duration. Only those unaware of how deep those fissures are, and how they go back to the very first century of Islam (in the case of the Sunni-Shi’a divide) could conceivably think that the American government, if it does not somehow solve this insolvable problem, is “walking away from its responsibilities in Iraq.” These problems go back to the essence of Islam from its very beginning, as a vehicle for Arab supremacism (in the case of the Kurd-Arab divide, a result of mistreatment of the Kurds by the Arabs over a very long time).
More than four years, and half-a-million officers and men trying their best, in a series of rotations, and the spending of $880 billion in past, present, and future committed costs, more than the total cost of all the wars ever fought by the United States save for World War II, is enough. Is more than enough. “Walk away from our responsibilities in Iraq”? Nonsense.