Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It's Over, Mr. B. Time to Get Out. Now. Our Continued Presence is an Aggravation to the Peaceful Resolution of Differences that Only They Can Do

Poll of troops signals most hope U.S. leaves Iraq soon
USA Today, March 1.

The U.S. should pull out of Iraq "within the next year," said 72% of the 944 U.S. military personnel in Iraq who were surveyed for a LeMoyne University/Zogby International project, which was published today. Just under a quarter - 23% - said U.S. forces should stay "as long as they are needed."

At the Pentagon, spokesman Bryan Whitman told The Financial Times that U.S. personnel in Iraq are not unhappy about the way things are going in Iraq. That conclusion is “certainly not born out in our recruiting and retention statistics,” he said.

Columnist Nicholas Kristof, who previewed the poll today in The New York Times (available to Times Select subscribers), disagreed. He called the 72% result "one more bit of evidence that our grim stay-the-course policy in Iraq has failed."

Among other survey results: 58% of the soldiers said the mission is clear to them; and "a majority of the troops serving in Iraq said they were satisfied" with the body armor and other equipment they've been provided.+

MY comment. The dream of Mr. Bush was bold and adventurous. We might create a new democracy in a key place in the Middle East which might help transform and stabilize the region, as well as make it more accessible (military bases) and useful (oil) to our national interests. But there were many resttaints: Political realism would have recognized, as many did, the impossibility of imposing a democracy on a tribal culture, Rummy and Cheney and Bush were headstrong, not willing to examine the downside risks, which some of their own military advised (e.g. number required for occupation, etc). Understanding Muslim fundamentalism, which we should have learned from our fiasco in Iran back under Carter and preceding Presidents, and what the unprovoked invasion of a Muslim country would do for the cause of Osama's campaign of terrorism. We have done in response, exactly what Osama dreamed and more in response to 911. We have in reality fueled terrorism around the world not only agsinst the USA but also against the West. Bush's dream was a dumb, dumb deal from the beginning, for anyone willing to examine the realities.

This military adventure has also cost us greatly and will take many years to repair.
March 1, 2006.


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