Having spent 14 months in Iraq from December 2003 through February 2005, the one that is very clear to me is that this is unlike any war that has ever been fought. Anybody that currently believes that we can and should just pull out tomorrow does not understand the ramifications that such an action would cause. Regardless of whether or not we should have gone there in the first place, we have to finish the job before we leave.This is good stuff. And I want to thank all the readers who email me with thoughtful comments. With so many emails, I can't possibly post everything everyone sends me, so don't be offended if what you send doesn't make the cut.
The dynamics of this war are difficult to understand, and the history of what is happening there does not go back when we invaded in 2003, nor does it go back to 1990-ish for the first gulf war. It goes back to WWI and the treaty of Versailles. That was when we got Turks, Kurds, Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims shoved into the same country. They've never really gotten along, and they only stayed relatively quiet under Sadam's rule because he had a habit of killing people. We dug up years and years of history, and the only way to calm everything down is to provide an intense amount of security until the new government can stabilize itself. Allowing one of the groups to overly dominate the others by force instead of through constructive debate would only bring progress to a screeching halt.
So, our current role is to try to keep people from killing each other so the constructive debates can continue. It's hard to do that if you only have one pair of eyes for every 1,000,000 people. The surge helps us keep tabs on terrorist groups and their movements, so we can prevent attacks and kill terrorists. From where I'm sitting, that's a good thing. I'd like to see our troops come home as soon as possible too, but let's not make the political unpopularity of the war drive us to defeat. I'm with Gen. Keane--let's git 'er done.
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