Daily Editorial: When can we leave?
Vail CO, Colorado
We can’t leave Iraq until it’s stable, say those few who are still defending our ailing excursion in the Middle East.
But is stability coming any time soon? The answer, by most accounts, is “no.”
Defenders of the war can continue to blast the media for only covering the negatives. But the negatives are massive.
Locally, the Vail Veterans Programs, which brings wounded veterans to the area to fish, raft and ski, is seeing more troops than ever who’ve lost legs.
Last week, more than 400 Iraqis ” members of a small Kurdish sect ” died in a single suicide attack. We can now add genocide to the mix of civil war, insurgency, terrorism and Iranian meddling to the fiasco.
Another glaring cause for alarm comes in an op-ed piece in the New York Times this weekend. A group of soldiers ” not the easy targets on the Times editorial board ” says it’s time for us to leave Iraq completely to the Iraqis.
The authors of the column, all members of the 82nd Airborne Division and just leaving Iraq after a 15-month deployment (including one who was shot in the head before the column was published), say hopes of victory as defined by the Bush Administration are now “far fetched.”
Defenders of the war say we can leave when Iraqi troops and police are ready to fight for themselves. But who are they fighting?
The soldiers say the Iraqi army and police are a big part of the problem. Far from being ready to “stand up,” they are colluding with terrorists, insurgents and others in killing Americans, these soldiers say.
And the biggest failure of the war has been our inability to improve economic and social conditions in Iraq. Rather than improve quality of life for Iraqis, the soldiers say, we have “robbed them of their self respect.” And this will only lead to more violent resistance (not cooperation) against U.S. troops who are increasingly seen as occupiers, the soldiers say.
Staying, from all the evidence, promises only betrayal, violence and more widespread death, for Iraqis and U.S. troops. Hopes of stabilizing Iraq on our terms seem to have vanished.
We’ve broken it and we can’t fix it. Let the locals try.
” Matt Zalaznick for the Editorial Board