Tuesday, March 20, 2007

JMO - Iraq

Why is Iraq the elephant in the room and everyone flees in the face of any real solution to the war and occupation our President promised us would be quick and bring freedom and democracy to the country and security and safety from terrorist? Why is it the elephant in the room in the discussion on the war on terrorism when we actually exacerbated international terrorism with our invasion and presence there? Why is it the elephant in the room when it comes to describing the reality of the state of this nation we literally destroyed?

Maybe it's time we need to find some common sense first and then hopefully we'll find some common ground. And how do we do that, like I'm an expert? Clearly I'm not, and while I've read and listened to a diversity of experts and the rhetoric of the politicians, I have an opinion, and like any citizen I'm entitled to it and to express it. So here goes some thoughts we need to do first, and maybe we can then get to some real solutions? I don't know but the current polarization isn't working.

Before we can discuss the issues, we have to define some ground rules. First, we have to lose the egos. Everyone has they view as they see it but it's not advancing anything but noise and hype. So, let's lose all the personal egos, leave them at the door of the discussion room, and bring an open mind. Second, we have to lose the arrogance. This is our worst enemy here and there. It's what's the basis for many policy decisions and actions, and it's time we decide we are part of the problem with our own arrogance.

Third, we have to be realistic and understand the history of the area and people of the Middle East. This requires, the fourth, shut up and listen. It's time we just listened to the diversity of experts, those who have lived through the history of the area and have objective views than personal agendas. We don't need their politicians pushing their agendas but we need people with real ideas. These come from those who have spent a lifetime learning and understanding the people, the reason we're there, for them, not us.

Fifth, we need to stop the often brutal militiaristic solution to the country. No one here would dare live there under such a repressive situation dictated by our military. It's time we just let them find their own solutions. We can't cordon off a whole city of 8 million people requiring going through many roadblocks with documents just to get groceries or go to work. The reality is that this isn't a longterm problem and governing it as a police state doesn't solve anything except inciting the enemy. We have to realize we're an occupying force which isn't loved anymore.

Everyone knows why Iraq was invaded and why we're really never leaving. We want to control one of the world's largest oil reserve to ensure our country's access to cheap oil. There were no WMD's. Iraq was not involved in 9/11. Saddam Hussein didn't support global terrorists and especially Al Queda. Iraq was not a threat to its neighbor or the region. The only truth was Saddam was a ruthless dictator, the same one we provided support from 1980-89 in his war against with Iran. We need to face our own involvement putting and keeping him in power.

Ok, while doing all that, are there solutions? I don't know but I have some thoughts. First, the President needs to have some honest discussions with the experts to frame the situation for a solution. We need to know where we are. Second, we need to have some ideas and choices of where we can go and where it may lead in its many directions. Only the Iraqis and the experts really have any answers here, not us, so it's time to listen to them.

Third, we need to establish some of the better choices and see where we fit in for an Iraq that will be a soverign nation with a government that works for them. This is the hardest since they don't agree and fear extending the civil war well into the future. We need the UN and its specialists here to see what can be done to minimize and where we fit in. The goal here is to leave, taking all our military with it. No special forces remaining to help unless asked by the Iraqis or recommended by the UN.

It's time we realized we're the elephant in Iraq, the eight hundred pound guerilla who doesn't want to leave and gets angry when provoked. When we realize we're our own worst enemy there because of our ego and arrogance, maybe we can find a real solution. It's what the generals have been saying if only our politicians will listen. We can't keep this attitude or argument any longer, it's not working for the people there and us here. So it's time for the politicians to shut up and listen to the people.

But I won't hold my breath waiting, which is said, because sometimes I wonder if the politicians want it to continue to make it election year fodder and rhetoric about patriotism, terrorism, national identity, and the always marketable 9/11. It's not about that, it's about Iraq. Let's keep that in mind and in our focus. Iraq isn't a territory of the US, but a soverign nation we invaded and are occupying, and we need to rebuild and leave, and hope as a good friend. Otherwise, the alternatives aren't pretty for years if not decades to come.

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