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The coalition gave Iraqis a fresh start. Now it's their turn.

Reader comment on item: Salvaging the Iraq War

Submitted by Pat (United States), Jul 24, 2007 at 14:15

It may not have been your intention but in two sentences you gave voice to the very reason many Americans think it's time to leave Iraq.

Removing Saddam Hussein was a realistic and welcome act of international sanitation but repairing Iraq in the face of a liberated, fractured, and ideological Iraqi populace remains beyond the coalition's will. The coalition gave Iraqis a fresh start; it cannot take responsibility for them nor rebuild their country.

So why stay? Why should we think American troops in the deserts and on the borders won't come under attack? Weren't the Americans in Saudi Arabia stationed in the desert, far from Saudi cities? People were still offended at their presence on Saudi soil. Why shouldn't we expect Iraqis to have the same viewpoint?

How will we be able to do anything on the border? The people planning jihad are in the mosque, not in the desert. Imagine the coverage of the wedding caravan that gets bombed because intelligence said that one of the vehicles was an IED being transported to its destination. Iraq's neighbors aren't unfriendly toward Iraq. They're hostile toward us.

So al Qaeda loves Americans in retreat. So what? We could leave in twenty years with a thriving open society functioning in Iraq and we would still be "running away from jihadists". We gave the Iraqi people an opportunity to build a new country. What they do with it is up to them. If they blow it, too bad.

America should not be expected to be the policeman of the Middle East. I realize no one else has the resources, but that's a reason to get them to build up their own defense forces. We are not shirking our responsibility. Others have shirked theirs and we let them get away with it. If the removal of Saddam Hussein didn't give us credibility enough to "influence developments in the world's most volatile theater" then what WILL give us credibility?

Granted it's a strategic area, but oil reserves are not solely the interest of the United States. Too many countries have a stake in the free and unfettered flow of oil through the Persian Gulf. Where are they? Where are the Muslims whose future depends on those flows? They're too busy maintaining Islamic solidarity against the great satan. All they do is give us reason to get off the oil.

If our problem was lack of will we would have withdrawn from Iraq after Fallujah. It's been more than four years and there are still Iraqis who say they won't help us because they're afraid of the consequences if we leave. We can't win coming or going. There's no pleasing them. There comes a time when you have to admit that the US presence in Iraq isn't hurting us and do what is in our best interest and never mind what it is doing to Iraqis. They've lost their credibility. What reason have they given us to stay? They want us out but they don't. Which is it? It's a tired refrain, but they can't have it both ways.

We won't be any help to anyone if we destroy ourselves in Iraq.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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