Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Superficial Thinking"

Iraq's Ambassador to the U.S., Samir al-Sumaidaie weighs in on U.S. Withdrawal.


What do you say to an American that is listening and following the news, who says, we went over there on some very bad intelligence, it hasn't worked out the way our leaders said it would, the time pressures on our military and the time pressures on your political leaders do not square – we're going to run out of strength before you've got enough of a reconciliation going – and it might be best for Americans, it might be best for Iraqis, as well, for America just to get out of there.

Ambassador al-Sumaidaie:
This is superficial thinking. Let's be fair. Historians will argue about whether it was right or wrong, justified or not justified to go into Iraq. However, we are now dealing with a situation which was created to a large extent by this intervention. To have created a mess and to turn around and walk away from it, apart from the fact that it is immoral in my view, it is not without a price. The price will be a destabilized Middle East, rampant international terrorism, which is bound to visit you here at home sooner or later. So some clear thinking has to be made about the price of these decisions.

The ambassador's comments surely stand in stark contrast to comments made by Democratic Senator Harry Reid, or even the liberal Blogosphere which insist Iraqis do not want us there.

Harry Reid, his friends in the Senate, the anti-war coalition, and the liberal Blogs should take note of the seasoned, widely respected voices in the media, even if they may disagree. It is easy to understand why one would not want to take the word of the Iraqi Ambassador, for his self-interest is perhaps inextricably linked to the government's survival.

But what about New York Times Baghdad Bureau Chief John Burns?
JOHN BURNS: Well, I think, quite simply that the United States armed forces here -- and I find this to be very widely agreed amongst Iraqis that I know, of all ethnic and sectarian backgrounds -- the United States armed forces are a very important inhibitor against violence. I know it`s argued by some people that they provoke the violence. I simply don`t believe that to be in the main true. I think it`s a much larger truth that where American forces are present, they are inhibiting sectarian violence, and they are going after the people, particularly al-Qaeda and the Shiite death squads, who are provoking that violence. Remove them or at least remove them quickly, and it seems to me -- controversial as this may seem to be saying in the present circumstances, while I know there`s this agonizing debate going on in the United States about this -- that you have to weigh the price. And the price would very likely be very, very high levels of violence, at least in the short run and perhaps, perhaps - perhaps for quite a considerable period of time.

But it seems to me incontrovertible that the most likely outcome of an American withdrawal any time soon would be cataclysmic violence. And I find that to be widely agreed amongst Iraqis, including Iraqis who strongly opposed the invasion. And especially amongst Sunnis, a minority who ruled here, whose power was usurped by the invasion and who now find themselves facing Shiite militias and 350,000 man and woman Shiite-led Iraqi security force, that`s to say army and police, which is overwhelmingly Shiite and would be likely, first of all, to disintegrate in the face of a civil war, but with its principal units falling on the Shiite, not the Sunni side of that war.

Will Congress listen to the cautious, prudent voices on the ground in Iraq? Or will they further only their own self-interests, for the sake of political gain?

No comments: