Should I Stay Or Should I go

Over the weekend anti war rallies were held in Washington DC, London and other mainly US major centres amidst renewed calls from the US Public for the US Administration to withdraw their forces from Iraq.

I’m not sure how one should feel about the anti war movement in the US. I’m all for an end to war an all that stuff and for that I give them my full support.

Yet there’s something that doesn’t quite wash, and no I am not referring to any hippy element that may have been present. It’s more the na├»ve notion that war can simply be banned or stopped through some sort of collective action. Noble sentiment I admit but it’s a completely impractical notion and doesn’t offer any real alternative to the current US Administrations policy for Iraq, Afghanistan and other nations currently under US scrutiny and/or support. Or I might add any other power that exerts their influence over others, for whatever reason.

One can’t simply say things aren’t going to plan in Iraq either, for alas I fear that there was no plan other than bombing the bejesus outta the place. The reconstruction efforts post end of hostilities don’t appear to be doing much, unless we only look at the Green Zones and other fortified strongholds designed and fortified to keep the majority of Iraqi’s out.

We can’t change what’s happened and so I won’t dwell today on the past, rather I am more concerned and interested in the future of Iraq, the old where next Columbus premise….

I have been of the opinion that the Coalition forces needed to stay the course, at least for a while, to provide security to Iraqi’s so that the wheels of whatever governmental process that will be the basis of a new Iraq could take shape and of course the internal security forces needed to keep the peace be trained and equipped to handle any escalation in violence once the Coalition left or if not leave, retreat to their permanent bases. Not a perfect scenario but perhaps the only way to establish something concrete from this fiasco, was my main view.

Over the past few weeks I’ve found my opinion changing, for a number of reasons, one being the increasing public opinion both in the US and the UK for withdrawing the troops out of Iraq. Public opinion that any democratic leader knows they must pay heed to at some point. To cut and run, would leave a power vacuum that could just eventuate in the civil war we’ve been warned about since day 2 post invasion it seems.

My view has also become increasing one of that whilst the Coalition stays violence will continue. A pullout (or more likely) a pullback could trigger the various factions within and without Iraq to put their differences to one side and create a platform for some sort of compromise that could, maybe, just lead to the sort of peaceful solution that has thus far alluded the Coalition and the interium Iraqi Government.

Well the other day I read a article (Michael Schwartz on Immediate Withdrawal) that supported the pullout of troops, one that made complete sense, thus I figured my views were justified and made the correct adjustment of my hat and buttoned my collar. Not content with only the superficial I have been since following the reaction to the initial article I read. Which is still continuing and getting very interesting, to try and make it easy I'll list the links here (the debate is listed in order):
  • The Blog of Juan Cole is Professor of History at the University of Michigan - goto "Schwartz: US out Now"
  • This is folloed by a reply to Mr Coles view by Gilbert Achcar who teaches at the University of Paris-VIII
  • Then we have the reply from Juan Cole goto "Cole Responds"

Actually best stay on Juan Cole's site (after you've finished here mind) and see the other responses to and from other equally intelligent and informed people, his links are better than mine. I hope the links make sense, its sunday night afterall and I am tired, its bloody cold too :(

For, against and round again, with plenty of historical and strategic basis for the various views. Heady and really fascinating stuff. Anyone who is interested in this situation would be well advised to take the time to read the links, and it'll take you a while, so best brew a cuppa first. The only real option I can see for a practical end result from staying has to date come from this article.

Reactions that both dispute the notion of a pull out and also support it. Damn these people, what I want is a simple black and white solution so I can focus on other more pressing issues – such as will I have seen tonight’s episode of the Simpsons and how to transport mud.

After my reading I am now more confused than ever, contentedly so, if that’s a term one can use. For naturally anyone who has a working mind knows that there is no simple colour fast soultion, only shades of grey. No one can predict with any certainty what the outcome of staying the course or leaving the Iraqi’s to it may lead to. It’s a complicated situation and my crystal ball isn’t what it could be.

It is hard to be a bystander, an opinionated one at that, living in the knowledge that what I think and what I do will have no impact whatsoever on the Middle East or specifically Iraq. At least at the movies there’s usually a happy ending, history of course always ends with a new chapter, built on the past.

As with just about anything, as soon as you scratch gthe surface you quickly realise there is more to the whole situation than a few solund bites will ever explain. Mainwhile in the mainstream media thats all we get.

As I prepare myself for a shite sunday movie, it seems Hurricane Rita hasn't devasted the US as it could have, though its still too early to say completely. There has definately been serious damage done and I imagine some life lost. I can't imagine what it must be like for the people in and around the areas effected nor what a living through a hurricane must be like. As ever my thoughts are with those effected.

Hard to imagine that its all the doings of the Japanese Yukuza.... only in America

Tomorrow is either my sisters or mothers birthday with the others on the following day. Why I can't remember who is which escapes me and every year I promise myself not to get it wrong but alas I am merely male,

Happy Birthday, um..... Belinda?

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