Re: Iraq Survey Group: 'Go Big, Go long or Go home'
I'm totally torn.
On one hand Iraq is in chaos and as a British voter I feel some degree of responsibility for the actions of my elected government.
It is not clear that British and American troops are securing Iraq rather than merely exacerbating the situation. It's just heart breaking to see how many Iraqis are being maimed daily when most of them want peace and to be able to live their lives in safety. Most of the Iraqi people, from what I've heard, also want us to leave. Having said that, I don't think anybody, including journalists, whose movements are restricted, really knows what is going on in Iraq. It's so complicated and tumultuous.
Moreoever, the war was illegal and if we had no moral or intellectual justification for being in Iraq in 2003, then how can our troops legitimately be there now? And it's our young men and women who are being maimed, too. Often those who have dropped out of school and been deprived of other opportunities in their environments. They are indoctrinated with machismo and patriotism when really they are being sent as cannon fodder if they are powerless to force a cessation to the violence in Iraq. Would our middle-class politicians, whose sons and daughters go to university and become lawyers, doctors, academics, really be so vehement that we should "stay the course" if their children were in the armed services? I doubt it.
On the other hand....
There are echoes of 1991 when Bush Senior resiled from his course and turned away from invading Iraq, leaving the Shiites to be butchered by Saddam. I fear that if we leave now, having been largely responsible for this mess (we are not fully responsible because 99% of civilian deaths at the moment are insurgents killing innocents), then Iraq can only descend into civil war and genocide. Millions rather than thousands will perish.
If we left and those events transpired, Iraq would be an unmitigated disaster which Britain and the U.S would carry on its shoulders for the next 100 years. This is not to mention the fact that the country may become a hub for anti-western terrorists and possible future world wars by making the region even more unstable. If there is one thing which we can do in all of this mess it is to support the democratic government we have allowed the Iraqi people to elect, and to attempt to consolidate by keeping our troops in place and continuing to train the Iraqi police, however fraught such an endeavour may be because of infiltration from insurgents. However bad things may be for Iraq at the moment, and however illegitimate this war was in the first place, there is some hope for Iraq at the moment if we stand fast and focus on the small positives.
Which do I agree with? I vacillate daily.