I’ve gotten some more comments on my earlier post about Iraq. I saw my friend Jason commented, and started to craft my own, but decided it would work best as a separate post, rather than as a comment.
I think it’s a grave mistake to believe this is a problem that originated with the United States, and that by retreating, we can solve it. When I say that Al-Qaeda felt they could attack us with impunity, I do not mean that they felt that we would just sit back and shrug it off. What I mean is that Al-Qaeda felt that they could attack and defeat America. Whether that involved drawing us into a war in Afghanistan, or Iraq, that would turn into a quagmire, is of little matter. They felt it was time to take us on, and their narrative centers around western weakness and softness, and up until post 9/11, we hadn’t done much in the way to dispel that narrative.
That’s why I think leaving would be dangerous. Radical Islam aims to re-establish the caliphate, and to instigate a world wide Islamic movement. It’s absurd only in the sense that the west has the capability to largely destroy Islam as an ideology of any serious consequence. But we don’t want it to come to that. Iraq is an experiment to determine whether an Arab and Islamic society can be brought into a globalized world, and able to live among us, without having to resort to terrible measures.
I don’t think we really have a choice here. We either fight now, where we have the luxury of a measured response, or we fight later, when we might have to do it with nuclear weapons. Right now the choice is ours, it deosn’t make much sense to wait until we have no choice, except pushing the button.
Whether we like or not, at the end of World War II, Europe basically handed us the keys to their former empire, and said “Well, we’re quite tired of working on the place. We’ve decided to retire to greener pastures. Here are the keys. Hope you don’t mind the mess too much.” We didn’t ask for it, and I wish we didn’t have to do it, but we’re stuck with it. I’d rather do everything we can to win now, when we can keep the body count to a relative minimum, than to fight later, when that could end up meaning total war. I don’t really see any in between ground on this issue.