Stronger Calls to Pull Out of Iraq

For once, I've been somewhat paying attention to the news that's been going on in the world, and over the past couple of days and weeks, I've been seeing rising amounts of discontent against the administration and the current war in Iraq. I don't usually go to politics here, but I wanted to put my thoughts in order about the entire affair.

To go back a bit, this is where I'm at. I go to a military college as a civilian, a liberal on a fairly concervative/moderate campus. I'm in the minority. A lot of people are going over to Iraq, and a lot support the war. In addition, I've been taking a class called Topics in Global History: Nation Building. It essentially focuses on various cases of nations attempting, suceeding or failing to build a solid, democratic nation. We've studied Haiti, Somalia, Kosovo, Bosnia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, The Congo, scattered South American Countries all at once, Germany, Japan and a couple of others that I'm forgetting at the moment.

While we haven't done anything with it, Iraq, and Afgahnistan are currently undergoing this process of nation building, establishing a democratic nation in a nation that has had little history with democracy. It's fate is still very much in the air. Will democracy take hold and suceed, or will it fail, and fall prey to some factional party or dictator again?

One of the main patterns that we've seen is a number of current nations that were once colonies, and some of the ones that still have problems, such as the Congo and Rwanda, can trace their problems back to European meddling. Rwanda, for example, had two seperate ethnic groups that worked together in a fairly complicated society. Problems started when the Dutch colonists went and actually seperated the two ethnic types, putting it down on paper and favoring one over the other by putting them above the other in the government. This caused a number of problems through the 20th century, and was responsible for the genocide in the 1990s.

We've also studied foreign intervention when it comes to building nations. The US has done this a number of times, with Haiti just prior to World War II, with Somalia, Haiti again, Germany and Japan. Germany and Japan were sucesses, while Haiti and Somalia were not. In class, we discussed reasons that at times, these have failed. The main differences between the recent Haiti occupation and Somali and Japan/Germany seems to be the length of time that we helped them out - almost a decade, before we pulled out and turned over control fully. In Somalia, soldiers were only there to help the UN distribute relief supplies, and in Haiti, soldiers were only there for six months, before a bulk of the forces were pulled out. In both times, much of the work that was accomplished was peeled back, more so in Somalia, which is still pretty bad off. In class, we discussed that the average amount of time for nation building with assistance took nearly seven - nine years.

So what does this mean for Iraq and Afghanistan? Well, influencial senators and congressmen on the democratic side are starting to push for a pullout as soon as possible. The invasion of Iraq was in 2003, two years ago. Pulling soldiers out now would most likely undo everything that's gone on there in those two years. We're training their own army, police and helping with the entire infrastructure - vital things if this is to work, not to mention trying to keep people from killing each other based on religion. We still have a very long way to go.

Keep in mind that I never supported entering the war, for the reasons given, and was fairly disgusted when the votes to enter Iraq came in. I still don't like the fact that we've entered a conflict that has so little to do with the War on Terror (And it's been a very long time since I've seen/heard that mentioned anywhere.) But, we did get outselves into it. We took out their military and much of their internal structure. If we pull out of the country now, we could very likely leave it in a situation that will easily lead a minority faction or dictator into power, and that would bring everything right back to square one.

If that happens, it happens, but it does absolutely jack shit for the US's reputation as a nation and it brings us down and I'm really annoyed that we've been put in this situation in the first place. And personally, while I don't like sending people over there, I really don't see much of an alternative until the new nation is up and running somewhat on it's own, and able to take care of it's own internal problems, without our aid. Then, we should pull out. I just hope that that happens soon. Really soon. Hopefully not seven-nine years, but we don't want this to end up like a Haiti or Somalia.