No matter how our politicians spin our leaving Iraq, the above headline will be the headline in all of the media sympathetic to Islamic extremism and Al Qaeda; period. Even as I wrote this headline I shuttered at the thought of this appearing anywhere for “real”. We need for the Iraqi people to take advantage of the security our military has brought to their country, and form a government that respects the rights of all of the people of Iraq. Freedom is messy and difficult and this is the best framework, today and now, that the Iraqi people will ever have to get a political solution hashed out. They must not squander our generosity and sacrifice. Time and patience is wearing thin here in America.
The Middle East region is too important to leave just because it is difficult. If we leave, Iran and Syria are threatening to “fill the gap”, and we cannot allow the world oil supply to be controlled by maniacs. Not that the oil supply has always been in the hands of stable governments, but when these two countries are threatening the inhalation of Israel and the US, we can’t allow them the access to funds that can support that effort. That is suicide.
The Middle East has always been a hot bed of dictators and terrorists but it is no longer acceptable to support them in any manner. The world has shrunk over the years with low cost travel and internet access, that a strategy of containment and “payola” is not a viable strategy anymore. This makes the stakes higher and more complicated in Iraq.
So the strategies of “stay the course” and “let’s just leave” are over simplified even though easy to understand. Both strategies need to be well thought out and need input from both sides of the argument. Political strategy should be left at the door in these discussions. Our future is too important to be making any decisions about Iraq within a political calculus. It is time to come together and get a cohesive strategy that protects the Iraqi people from outside influences like Iran, protects the world’s oil supply from terrorist control, keeps the terrorists on the defensive, nurtures the fragile democratic seeds in Iraq, and respects the sacrifices our troops have made in the region.
It should not be about the future of any political party, it should be about our future; period. If we don’t want to be reading this headline in the New York Times, we must come together and do what America has always done in the past; rallied together in times of “crisis”. This is the beginning or the end of another “crisis” in the Middle East. Let’s make it the end. Just a thought…