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Friday, August 22, 2008

Iraq Now

Shambollocks prides itself it on providing educated differing opinions on the issues that most affect our country. One of the motivating issues for our editorial board is the war in Iraq. It is the standing recommendation here, and it will be until it becomes reality, that American troops be brought home ASAP. John McCain believes that America needs to stay in Iraq until the job is done, whenever and whatever that means.

The truth is that Bush's 'surge' has resulted in a more stable Iraq. Foreign Affairs, a premier foreign policy publication, states that there should be no forced withdrawal of American forces.

If the prognosis in Iraq were hopelessly grim, it might make sense for the United States to threaten withdrawal, hold its breath, and hope for the best. But the prognosis is now much more promising than it has been in years, making a threat of withdrawal far from necessary. With a degree of patience, the United States can build on a pattern of positive change in Iraq that offers it a chance to draw down troops soon without giving up hope for sustained stability.

The article affirms the importance of upcoming Iraqi elections, in which the major Sunni parties intend to participate, in creating a more united Iraq. I do not place much confidence in the results of elections to create stability. The elections in Palestine in 2006 showed that open elections do not ensure victories for pro-American parties. Yes, the elections later this year and next year in Iraq may very well create a functioning state that no longer needs our assistance. Alternatively, they could result in the same fractured government which exists now, further guaranteeing the need for American security. Stating a firm withdrawal date is risky. It would put Iraq's leaders feet to the fire. It very well could backfire. But we as a nation do not have a responsibility to Iraq to remain until they agree to compromise and completely disarm their sectarian militias. We can ask our ally England how long that took in Northern Ireland.

A firm withdrawal date lets every Iraqi citizen know the true stake of their vote. And it also proclaims to our hard-working servicemen that there is an end in sight.

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