Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Iraq: should we stay or should we go?

My opinion on Iraq has evolved over the years. At first, I was avidly against the war. I was sickened by the fact that we went to war with a nation that was not a threat to us. (though was always anti-Saddam) Once we started fighting, I thought we should stay to fix the mess we imposed on the Iraqi public. Then, I thought we should stay because Iraq turned into a festering hotbed for terror, and suddenly we really WERE fighting the war against Islamofascism in Iraq. My opinion is evolving yet again. Last week I met an extraordinary human being. I met Zeyad, from Healing Iraq. He is a sweet, intelligent, and kind human being, who clearly is haunted, knowing he has family and friends over in Iraq, and that he is over in NYC, unable to help them. Zeyad also, out of all places he could move, moved to my neighborhood of Brooklyn. That is how we met! First I will describe the meeting, and then go into why I now wonder if we should be in Iraq. Zeyad and I met at a coffee/tea shop in my neighborhood, and as soon as I saw him, I was put at ease by his sweet smile. We sat in the coffee shop talking and talking, he explaining what it's like to be a grad student at CUNY School of Journalism, covering mundane local NYC politics after having covered major Iraqi events. We then went to an Indian restaurant and enjoyed a good curry. I was horrified at his telling me he could eat three big macs, no problem! I have no idea where he keeps it, as he is very lean. Then we went for a walk through the neighborhood, finally ending near where I live at close to 11:30 pm, when we bid adieu. The 3 1/2 hours wizzed by quickly. In our discussions, Zeyad spoke of how little America is really able to do to ameliorate the situation in Iraq. He spoke of an outright civil war, and American troops that do not want to take sides. He spoke of sharia law being dominant in Iraq, and a law that was passed saying it is a felony to criticize the government. (so much for free speech) He spoke of assassinations against the intelligensia, and an attempt to wipe out all shia and all sunni. And after listening to this, it all gelled to me... We are wasting our resources in Iraq. If it has gotten THIS BAD (and it's worse than you think, according to Zeyad), and we cannot do anything to stop the violence, then why are we wasting American lives, and the American military might over there? What is our purpose if we are doing nothing to prevent the lawlessness? Moreover, why are we there when there are pressing problems that it appears we CAN deal with (Sudan and North Korea), and a looming threat that we cannot be neutered when we inevitably clash? (Iran) Unless we radically change our policy in Iraq, I truly believe it's pointless to remain there. I could support us remaining in Iraq, but not under the current rules. Something has to change.


Anonymous said...

It's nice to see a human story. There are many such people like Zeyad from Iraq - many. just like you and me. Whether or not the Allies stay in Iraq, the one thing that must change is the way we view the lives there. They are so human. They are so human - just like you and me. It should not surprise anyone that there are lovely people in Iraq, it should not urprise the Iraqis that there are lovely people in America.

We should change our view of the way we think of the people across an ocean - because they are SO human - and their tomorrow is not promised by any government, just as our tomorrow is not guaranteed by any government.

Cheers :-) If you don't mind I will be adding you to my fearless blog roll - because it takes fearlessness to address humanity


Red Tulips said...


I am glad you like my blog. :-)

Yes, I feel horrible for the good people in Iraq who are suffering, and there many of them. I view the situation as follows...

We opened up a can of worms by going into Iraq, and the worms in that can is not from our doing, but we should not have opened the can to begin with.

Anyway, the situation is urgent and tragic.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

Healing Iraq dude is kind of a nutjob.

You said that he ssid they are trying to kill all sunni and all shia.

Who? The Kurds? They are the only other main group, and they are pretty darn peaceful.

The problem is that the Sunni and Shia are both whacked in the head. The sane voices in the Arab world are rare to start with.

Try the iraqthemodel blog. Also, fewer Iraqis have died from US fire than would have died from Saddam's normal torture routine. We have already saved lives there, and you have to admit, the Middle East is a cesspool that needs cleaning.

The only alternative is to completely render oil and oil products worthless, so these people can suffer their misery off our radar. But really, is that the moral high ground?

Red Tulips said...

Mr. Smarterthanyou:

Um, re-read Zeyad. He is saying that the Sunni and Shia are trying to kill each other. In other words, it's a civil war. He also is saying that the US is doing little, or at least not enough, to stop this.

After speaking with him, I see the US troops as sitting ducks in a civil war. Unless we change our strategy over there, we are useless.