The drawdown is beginning and it is fairly clear that very soon, America's role in Iraq will be negligible. It has been a very long haul indeed, and one fraught with doubt and worry, but it will soon be all over.
I have always thought that this war represented a new gamble regarding the Middle East. It's one thing to pound Hussein to the dust - it's quite another to create an entirely new regime from the ground up. Socrates might call it folly. Heh, most Americans (not to mention Europe) call it folly. But the war in Iraq is complicated and there are many facets to it - layers that the media and the armchair warriors usually ignore. Michael Totten's journalism efforts are remarkable and everyone should check them out. You do not get the whole picture from TIME, CNN, Fox, or the New York Times. The media focuses on Iraq burning. Totten and other independant journalists show us a bigger picture, one that is not necessarily dominated by a corporate agenda. (to claim that TIME, NY Times, FOX, or BBC do not have an agenda is to claim ignorance) But to return to the gamble.
Can a people who have known nothing but tribal factions and totalitarian oppression knowingly and willingly embrace a sort of liberty? (to call the Iraqi constitution republican democracy is foolhardy) I am not sure. I do believe it was the right thing to do. Hussein was a loose cannon, rolling around the MidEast and it was time for him to go. Iraq was being violently oppressed. Whatever violent assertions we may make about government lies, misleading, and war crimes (torture now has a new definition; apparently anything causing a prisoner discomfort is torture), it can safely be said that the President did not orchestrate the war for oil and that he does in fact believe very much in this endeavor, however mistaken it may be.
I am rambling. My position on this war is very confusing. If I were placed in the position as Commander in Chief in 2003, would I have gone into Iraq? There are good reasons to do so and good reasons to refrain. I am honestly not sure what I would have done.
To tie this into the beginning though, I do believe that the war needs to end. I don't think anyone expected it to last this long (how many times we have said that!) I certainly did not expect it to last this long. It is coming to an end. President Bush leaves office next year in January (January of 2009). He has to make some sort of drawdown to save face and give the impression that he is doing all he can to bring the conflict to an end. Whoever next takes office (please, God, let it be Ron Paul) will have a big challenge on their hands, because this stage of the war is every bit as important as Day I. As we have seen in Vietnam, if we abandon our ally, the war will be for naught. I don't want that to happen. 3,000 American deaths were the indirect cause of this war, and 3900 deaths of professional soldiers have been the result, not to mention the trillions of dollars spent and respent.
Can the war in Iraq succeed? At the moment, I think it can. But due to the Republic, I think it will not last long before it turns into tyranny again. And that is the most frightening and saddening thing about this whole 5 year war.