Saturday, June 18, 2005

Matter of convenience...

Many of the recent Republican calls for a withdrawal timetable often include a version of the soundbite, "It's their country and it is time for the Iraqi's need to take responsibility for their future." While I agree with the idea that the Iraqi people are ultimately responsible for their future, at this point the United States has a responsibility to assist the people of Iraq. Some valid reasons for toppling a regime such as Saddam's do exist (though none were central to the Bush administration's argument) so the damage incurred could be seen as justifiable.

If the sequence of events in post-invasion Iraq had followed the administrations optimistic assumptions and not the critics predictions, the U.S. would be perfectly justified in simply packing up and pulling up stakes. However, the lack of planning for dealing with the insurgency, infrastructure destruction, civilian casualties, in-fighting between political factions and generally re-establishing some form of normalcy for the people means that the administration still bears a heavy burden and owes the Iraqi people a great deal of help.

The recent Republican statements questioning the Bush administration's statements leading up to the war are welcome. However, statements simply calling for some arbitrary timeline are more likely to reflect increasing public dissatisfaction with the progress in Iraq, which is at 59% (CBS News/New York Times Poll. June 10-15, 2005.).

Calling for a withdrawal of troops without acknowledging the debt the administration owes the Iraqi people is dishonest.

The question of withdrawing troops is difficult. To ask men to risk their lives to salvage a program that was founded on deception is not defensible. To leave the Iraqi people to the depredations of the insurgent forces in the country is also failure.

The war was not defensible based upon the administration's now discredited reasoning, however, once the administration invaded they had a responsibility to follow through on their actions with the appropriate amount of support as well as the appropriate amount of political sensitivity. Rebuilding the country was never included in the initial planning. The administration's stated contempt for "nation building" should have been an indication that the post-invasion process was going to be far less successful than pummeling the already decrepit Iraqi military.

The legislators that were so gung-ho in supporting the President's invasion of Iraq owe the U.S. military and the voters a frank and open examination of the failures that led us to the point where we are, according to commanders on the ground, in an inevitably deteriorating.

Calling for the Iraqi's to take responsibility for their shattered country without acknowledging our responsibility will achieve nothing and let those who failed to take reality into account in their planning off without consequence.

- Murphy

No comments: