Supporters of the war in Iraq, as well as some
non-supporters, warn of the dangers if we leave. But isn't it quite possible
that these dangers are simply a consequence of having gone into Iraq in the
first place, rather than a consequence of leaving? Isn't it possible that
staying only makes the situation worse? If chaos results after our departure,
it's because we occupied Iraq, not because we left.
The original reasons for our preemptive strike are long forgotten, having
been based on false assumptions. The justification given now is that we must
persist in this war or else dishonor those who already have died or been wounded.
We're also told civil strife likely will engulf all of Iraq.
But what is the logic of perpetuating a flawed policy where more Americans
die just because others have suffered? More Americans deaths cannot possibly
help those who already have been injured or killed.
Civil strife, if not civil war, already exists in Iraq and despite the infighting,
all factions oppose our occupation.
The insistence on using our military to occupy and run Iraq provides convincing
evidence to our detractors inside and outside Iraq that we have no intention
of leaving. Building permanent military bases and a huge embassy confirms these
We deny the importance of oil and Israel's influence on our policy, yet
we fail to convince the Arab/Muslim world that our intentions are purely humanitarian.
In truth, our determined presence in Iraq actually increases the odds of regional
chaos, inciting Iran and Syria while aiding Osama bin Laden in his recruiting
efforts. Leaving Iraq would do the opposite though not without some dangers
that rightfully should be blamed on our unwise invasion rather than our exit.
Many experts believe bin Laden welcomed our invasion and occupation of two
Muslim countries. It bolsters his claim that the U.S. intended to occupy and
control the Middle East all along. This has galvanized radical Muslim fundamentalists
against us. Osama bin Laden's campaign surely would suffer if we left.
We should remember that losing a war to China over control of North Korea ultimately
did not enhance communism in China, as she now has accepted many capitalist
principles. In fact, China today outproduces us in many ways as reflected
by our negative trade balance with her.
We lost a war in Vietnam, and the domino theory that communism would spread
throughout southeast Asia was proven wrong. Today, Vietnam accepts American
investment dollars and technology. We maintain a trade relationship with Vietnam
that the war never achieved.
We contained the USSR and her thousands of nuclear warheads without military
confrontation, leading to the collapse and disintegration of a powerful Soviet
empire. Today we trade with Russia and her neighbors, as the market economy
spreads throughout the world without the use of arms.
We should heed the words of Ronald Reagan about his experience with a needless
and mistaken military occupation of Lebanon. Sending troops into Lebanon seemed
like a good idea in 1983, but in 1990 President Reagan said this in his memoirs:
we did not appreciate fully enough the depth of the hatred and complexity
of the problems that made the Middle East such a jungle
In the weeks immediately
after the bombing, I believed the last thing we should do was turn tail and
yet, the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics forced us to rethink
our policy there."
During the occupation of Lebanon by American, French, and Israeli troops between
1982 and 1986, there were 41 suicide terrorist attacks in that country. One
horrific attack killed 241 U.S. Marines. Yet once these foreign troops were
removed, the suicide attacks literally stopped. Today we should once again rethink
our policy in this region.
It's amazing what ending military intervention in the affairs of others
can achieve. Setting an example of how a free market economy works does wonders.
We should have confidence in how well freedom works, rather than relying on
blind faith in the use of military force to spread our message. Setting an example
and using persuasion is always superior to military force in showing how others
might live. Force and war are tools of authoritarians; they are never tools
of champions of liberty and justice. Force and war inevitably lead to dangerous