Years ago, when I was dating a young lady who worked in a travel agency, a huge poster on the wall beside her desk always intrigued me. It said, “Come Visit The Middle East… Where It All Began.” There was actually a series of these posters, each featuring a different middle eastern country. This particular one featured photos of Iraq. It did the trick. I longed to go there and visit this strange, but alluring country.
This morning’s Christian Science Monitor reports tens of thousands of supporters of Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr converged in Firdos Square in Baghdad, to demand that U.S. President Obama “fulfill his promise to withdraw US troops.” This happens, no coincidence by the way, on the sixth anniversary of the day US Troops and joyful Iraqis pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein that had stood guard in this same square for years in tribute to the former leader.
File this under, “Allah never lets any good deeds go unpunished.” Tt comes as no surprise to me that the Iraqis would eventually demand US troops vacate the country they liberated from the hands of murderous tyrant Saddam Hussein. It should further be pointed out that people in this region were deep into America Bashing long before it became so in vogue that even our current President loves to participate by apologizing for virtually everything this country has done since liberating Europe in WWII.
Reading between the lines, however, this poses an interesting conundrum for the Obama administration.
- When he was campaigning, Obama repeatedly announced he would end the war quickly and bring the troops home. He often refused to give a specific date or define “quickly.” This was done principally to give him an edge over Hillary Clinton (really an unnecessary campaign promise, as ACORN had pretty much cleared the way for his nomination through their alleged voter registration fraud in numerous key states).
- Obama announced on February 27th of this year: “Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31st, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.”
- But in the same speech, Obama added he plans to leave a force of 35,000 to 50,000 to advise Iraqi security forces, conduct counter-terrorism missions and protect U.S. personnel. That’s about half of the number of troops we started out with in 2003. I’m not sure the Iraqis will see this as a full withdrawal of troops. Perhaps more of a problem for Obama, those who elected him based on his alleged commitment to end the war and bring all the troops home are bound to be disappointed.
The fact is, history will eventually show that Bush was right to go into Iraq for reasons too numerous to go into in this short space. Key among those reasons, however, was to install some sense of a democracy in a region where the vast majority of people live in the 14th century or earlier based on religious beliefs. These are a people who have fought amongst themselves with sticks and stones for centuries.
Until they caught up to the technologies of war. Now, government and religious radicals in this region have (or are developing) weapons that can essentially wipe the entire Middle East of the face of planet earth. And, unlike western nations, they don’t care if that happens, because it’s an honor to kill and/or BE killed for Allah.
Stability in this region isn’t an option.
The bottom line? It’s not a popular one, but here it is, boys and girls: Bush was right. And Obama would be wise to stick to his guns about maintaining a presence of 20,000-30,000 troops in the area.
It’s been years since I dated that young lady, and I don’t know whatever became of her. But I can visualize the poster that would be in that office today… “Come See The Middle East. Where It All Began. Before It All Ends.”