Sunday, October 09, 2005

LA Times: Is Peace Really The Answer

This criticism of the war opposition on the left hits all the worthwhile pro-war talking points, and raises an argument which is interesting but not novel. The writer asserts that the departure of American troops cannot happen while the reality of violence is still menacing the Iraqi populace. Indeed, the question is posed as to whether we can expect peace in the near future.

What this article leaves unsaid, as indeed many do, is that the cultural affinity for brutal demonstration of authority means that this violence will not end any time soon. There are many forces for peace in Iraq, but many of the organizations with which we have to deal to improve security are still sorting whether their loyalties belong to peace or violence.

Reason tells me that most forces in Iraq hope for public order, but the consensus that it can be obtained by democratic means is still imaginary. The main factions in Iraq have too many tensions within and among one another for peace to be in reach by any global standard. So if America wanted to bring peace to Iraq with out current operational framework and troop levels, I believe we would need to maintain a troop presence in perpetuity - that is, until the end of time.

I agree with many Americans that the departure of our troops right now would not be fair to long suffering Iraqis, and that we have an obligation to do the best we can to leave Iraq with honor. However, we absolutely (and this means the voters most of all) must face the reality that sooner or later our forces will have to leave Iraq and likely that day will come before Iraq is secure. So our "peace with honor" will almost certainly have to be a compromise, which will probably mean that the current leadership will not understand how to craft it. If only I could be wrong on this one.


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