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Consequences of an Immediate Withdrawal

Let’s say that the US decides to stop suffering casualties in the Middle East, decides that maybe the Iraquis can stand up for themselves and rule themselves in a sensible manner.

Let’s say that by June 30, there were no more US soldiers there at all. That it was decided that the UN could step in if they wanted to, but we weren’t going to wait for them. That individuals could contribute as much time and money and effort as they wanted to reconstruction, but the nation wasn’t going to put another dime into it.

Does anyone seriously think that Iraq wouldn’t erupt into anarchy and chaos?

If it did, would it really be our problem? The Iraqui people don’t seem to like the occupation; the fact that they continue killing soldiers whenever and however they can demonstrates this. It seems that gas prices are going to rise no matter what we do; why not spare the expense of the occupation, let them take themselves to hell. Or maybe, if they demonstrate more maturity than I expect, they’ll organize their own police, hold their own elections, act rationally. That would be best, really; the government would be more stable than something propped up by Uncle Sam’s helping hand, because it would have come about independently. But for some reason, I don’t really think that it would happen like that.

Democracy seems to only take root when the people want it, though. It works in the US becuase the people were willing to revolt to acquire it. It works in Europe and Japan because they have similar cultures; whether or not they would have arrived there without the influence of the US, their people value the benefits it provides enough for it to be stable. (It may work well in other places, too; I only named the places that I can think of off the top of my head.) The thing about democracy, though, is that you can’t enforce it; you can’t point a gun to someone’s head and say “you must vote now” and expect reasonable results. You can’t require an expectation of freedom.

We can’t build Iraq into something resembling the US. The Iraquis have to do it themselves. While they’re busy at it, the best thing we can do to help is to remove our soldiers, open trade with them. Nothing more. If at some point they look at the US as a role model instead of the Great Satan, then we’ll be en route to true victory. Until then, maintaining a military presence only ensures that we’ll continue spending money and manpower, and they’ll keep resenting us a little more every day.

If pulling out results in civil wars in Iraq, if it results in death and starvation and all sorts of injustice–that’s not our problem. We shouldn’t have to be the world’s police. We wouldn’t have appreciated it if someone had stepped in during our own Civil War, decreed that the South had a point, separated the nation, put down troops to ensure that their decision held. We need to let them figure out their own sanity, becuase we can’t supply it for them.

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