Sunday, 5 October 2008

Differing With The Left Over Iraq & Afghanistan

Much to my own surprise, my feelings on Iraq are much more in alignment with the Bush and McCain regimes rather than Obama's and most of the lefts. While the left are demonstrating and making loud noises about pulling the troops out of Iraq, my view is that we took a country that, albeit run by a murderous dictator, was a working model and smashed it to smithereens. Five years on and although there have been small advances, nobody can honestly say that if we go now we would be leaving Iraq in a better position than how we found it. I maintain the view that we broke it, we have a moral and ethical duty to stay until such a time that it IS a better place than when we shock and awed it in 2003. To just up an leave would expose the Iraq civilians to the terrorists that we filled the country with and sadly, if the choice is between an innocent Iraqi being blown apart as they go about their everyday business or the UK/US military bearing the brunt, the unprotected civilian should come top every time.
Strangely, the reverse is true in Afghanistan where the left seem to be advocating a surge of troops to combat a resurgent Al-Qeada & Taliban combination. With NATO now seemingly intent on spreading the conflict to Pakistan with its cross border incursions, resulting in gunfire exchanges between NATO and Pakistan troops, we have to rethink our whole strategy in the country.
Rather than picking up an even bigger stick to hit with, we have to swallow our pride and sit down with our enemies. The truth is we are not going to win a military victory in either country, all we can do is arrange to leave both countries with a manageable level of insurgency that can be managed by the relative countries armies as Britain's most senior military commander in the country is proposing.
Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said: "If the insurgents were prepared to sit on the other side of the table and talk about a political settlement, then that's precisely the sort of progress that concludes insurgencies like this."
We shouldn't be in either country but the situation is that we are and to continue along the same path that we have been following since the invasions is folly and will only mean more deaths and a widening arena of conflict.
Certainly we should be working towards pulling the troops out but not until we have made sure that both countries are secure and our leaders learn the painful lesson from our very recent history which is don't be so eager to start wars in the first place because nobody has ever died through sitting around a table talking.


Charlotte said...

Lucy, no comments on this one? Could it be people agree but don't want to be seen backing a Bush or McCain policy or disagree but their conscience wont let them admit that they are willing to see Iraq burn as long as the troops are safe? You have caught a great - albeit obviously uncomfortable - Catch 22.

Cheezy said...

In my case, I don't agree with either Bush, McCain or (more regretfully!) Lucy on this one. As I think we've discussed before, I think the invasion was far more about power politics and control of resources than it ever was about security. Under these circumstances, I can't see the sense or the moral case for staying.

In January 2009 the new President should say: "I'm sorry we did the wrong thing. But this new administration is going to start doing the right thing by pulling out. And prosecuting the last bunch for war crimes".

It'll never happen I know. The claws are in too deep.

Moreover, all of that "the surge is working" stuff is a bit of a con. By the time the extra troops arrived, almost all of the ethnic cleansing had already happened. Most of the population now exists in sectarian enclaves, whereas there used to be a lot of mixed Shia-Sunni neighbourhoods, especially in Baghdad.

Professor Agnew from Environment and Planning put it this way:

"Our findings suggest the surge has had no observable effect, except insofar as it has helped to provide a seal of approval for the process of ethno-sectarian neighbourhood homogenisation that is now largely achieved."

Lucy said...

I don't disagree with you about the first bit cheezy or the how and why we went there. The concern is the near future and it is as Charlotte says a choice of stay there and be the buffer between the car bombs and the iraqi civilians, or pull out and leave them to the mercy of the same people. I don't see it as a tough choice, i put the safety of the invaded above the safety of the invaders until such time that the threat is diminshed. It is uncomfortable because ideally nobody would be in the frontline but someone is going to have to be for the near future and the choice is who is it going to be?