The Perils of Withdrawal, and other articles from Maria
Hitchens’s article The Perils of Withdrawal
We’re sticking with Afghanistan. Why would we ditch Iraq?
The United Nations and the NATO powers conceded the United States the right of self-defense in the Afghan case, thus making it more “legitimate” and multilateral, and (presumably, therefore) turning its current difficulty into a crisis for legitimacy and multilateralism as well. But the coalition mission in Iraq is also now baptized by U.N. resolutions, and the elected Iraqi government seated at the United Nations, so the difference here is not very crucial.
The real difference is this, if one is permitted to mention such a coarse thing as interest: Iraq is enormously more important, geopolitically, than Afghanistan. It sits beside one of the choke-point sea lanes of the global economy, and it occupies a keystone position between the Wahhabist theocracy of Saudi Arabia and the Shiite theocracy of Iran. One may despair of the stupidity of the Bush administration’s “drug war” in Afghanistan (“just hold still while we liberate you and burn your only crop and make sure that all profits go to gangsters”), but it is a bagatelle when compared to the gigantic stakes of Iraqi oil. If anything like a federal and democratic Iraq emerged and was able to recuperate its ravaged and corrupted oil fields, it could undercut the Saudi and Iranian duopoly as well as provide a modern standard of living to a people immiserated by three decades of war and fascism. This would be a prize of historic proportions.
The text of Pres. Bush’s speech from yesterday: President Outlines Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Tony Blankley’s Exit Strategy
Ralph Peters: Our Iraq Mistakes
We refuse to face the fact that today’s deepest and deadliest global divide isn’t between the Islamic world and the West, but between the various factions within Islam. Sunni Arab rejectionists and Shia extremists both may want to see the last of our forces, but they’re saving their sharpest blades for use on each other.
Amir Taheri: The Timetable Is Unchanged
The truth, however, is that a timetable has been in place from the first day of the war that ended the Ba’athist tyranny in 2003. In that timetable, the Coalition’s military presence in Iraq is linked, as it should be, to the program for the nation’s political reconstruction.
In other words, the Coalition forces are in Iraq to accomplish a precise political task, and not to provide the United States or any other foreign power with a forward base in the Middle East.
The goal was to take power away from a small clique led by Saddam Hussein and hand it back to the people of Iraq. The idea was not to impose democracy on Iraq, as some anti-liberation circles claim. The idea was to remove impediments to democratization.
Today, the Iraqis are not forced to create a democracy. But they have a chance to do so, if they so wish. The Coalition’s task was to get them that chance. And in that sense, the Iraq project has been a tremendous success.
And, last, but not least, one of Thomas Sowell’s Random Thoughts
Since neither the creationists nor the evolutionists were there when the world began, why are our schools teaching either set of beliefs, when there are so many hard facts that the schools are failing to teach?