Robert Schwartz, a frequent commenter on this blog, left a great comment yesterday in response to a post by Ginny about the war:
The civil war in Iraq was ongoing before the US invaded. Then it was one sided, as the Sunnis terrorized the Shia. Now it is more even, and, with the US suppressing both sides, less bloody. Combat has been limited to a few provinces and is far from universal. US casualties are minimal (less than historic accidental death rates) as both sides are mostly concerned with each other.
Before the US pulls out of Iraq, it should pull out of Korea, Germany and Japan, where it has stationed large contingents for two generations.
Further, we need to understand that pulling out of Iraq will not bring US peace. It will only energize and embolden our enemies, who attacked US here in the homeland before the Iraq war, and who will do so again if given the chance, and possession of Iraq and its resources will give them many chances.
Finally, we must remember that patience is a virtue. Nail Ferguson has said that the US is the first great power that suffers from ADD. It takes years, to stabilize a situation like Iraq. Just as a surgeon may not leave the OR until the patient is ready for the recovery room, the US should not leave Iraq at this point. Iraq is still on its first elected government. How many years of elections and coups d’etat did we go through in Korea before it was stable enough to have one elected government follow another? (Hint, at least 35.)
Last night we celebrated the Passover Seder. In accordance with the commandments, we read the story of the Exodus of the enslaved Jews from Egypt. They were led by the greatest and most humble of prophets, Moses, and by the Eternal God, Creator of the Universe, in the form of a pillar of fire. Even with the direction of leadership that we all can agree was better than George Bush and Don Rumsfield, it still took 40 years to turn an oppressed people into citizens of a free state, and there was plenty of rebellion and backsliding along the way. At the end of the story, God cashiers Moses because of his mistakes.
My point is that even with the best leadership possible, turning slaves into citizens will be difficult and time consuming.
You can read Ginny’s post, and the full text of Robert’s and other comments, here.