While my daughter got her braces off today I read my copy of The Atlantic. An article by Nir Rosen was particularly enlightening, considering the current debate on leave now vs. leave
later with our tail between our legs.
I suspect Congressman Murtha read the same article before he proposed that the U.S. exit Iraq now rather than later.
Rosen lays out the arguments for leaving ASAP, and they're pretty convincing. Conventional wisdom has it that chaos will erupt as soon as the U.S. pulls out, leaving Iraq in the midst of a civil war.
Yet as Rosen points out, Iraq already is in the midst of a civil war, and "The mere announcement of an intended U.S. withdrawal would allow Sunnis to come to the table and participate in defining the new Iraq."
The new Iraq, it turns out, will be a nation minus the Kurds. They'll secede as soon as we leave, but that's a good thing, argues Rosen. No one more deserves their own nation than the Kurds, plus:
They also happen to be the most America-loving people I have ever met; their leaders openly seek to become, like Israel, a proxy for American interests. If what the United States wants is long-term bases in the region, the Kurds are its partners.
Won't we be leaving the nation to the likes of al-Zarqawi if we pull out? No, according to Rosen, Zarqawi is hardly representative of the typical Iraqi resistance fighter:
The foreign jihadi element—commanded by the likes of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—is numerically insignificant; the bulk of the resistance has no connection to al-Qaeda or its offshoots. (Zarqawi and his followers have benefited greatly from U.S. propaganda blaming him for all attacks in Iraq, because he is now seen by Arabs around the world as more powerful than he is; we have been his best recruiting tool.)
One by one, Rosen, a long time Iraqi correspondent, shoots down the objections cautious liberals like me have about leaving Iraq: the mother-instinct says "you made that mess, now you clean it up," yet a more apt analogy would be the elephant in the china shop: there's no way a two ton elephant can possibly clean up all the broken china that is modern Iraq.
And as Rosen asks, "who would the insurgents fight if the enemy left?"
More reading in this month's Atlantic: Why Iraq Has No Army. It's worth picking up a copy at your newsstand, and taking it to your next dentist appointment.