Ok, I admit it. The Surge in Iraq has worked, to some extent. Violence is down and news reports say markets are opening up, Iraqis are trying to rebuild their towns and refugees are starting to consider moving back.
I was always against any prolonged engagement in which the U.S. tried to "democratize" Iraqis. Not only because of the impractical costs in lives and money, but frankly, the whole assertion that the rest of the world needs to be like the U.S. is distancing us from...the rest of the world. You know who else tried to pacify other nations to help their own security? The Romans, and their empire was about twice as long as ours.
Anyhow, stuck with the current situation, the best outcome (and one that I assume is the aim of our government, but I'm not sure) would be that the Islamic and ethnic sects within Iraq reconcile and form a working government. After reading about Sunnis wanting to ask U.S. soldiers to help reconstruction rather than their own Shiite-dominated government, I'm thinking that keeping our troops over there is still not the answer.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki acknowledges the lack of governance, blaming it on Saddam's years of autocratic rule. John Soundbite McCain said there are no Thomas Jeffersons left in Iraq, whereas Bush said all the Nelson Mandelas are dead.
To some extent, they're right. But maybe the Islamic world needs a Martin Luther more than an Uncle Sam with a M-16? The enlightenment, the reformation, and rationality took a long time for the West to develop, and the fruits of these ideological developments haven't entirely blossomed yet. With executive branches not allowing due process, torturing, extraordinary renditioning, and committing treasonous acts, such as outing CIA agents, maybe the West is not the best example?
In Iraq's long-term Interests, the Iraqi government has to reconcile and function. And the Bush Admin. seems to be doing little to promote that. Bush has said, "it's their country." Yes, but it's our troops. Why not offer a stick to go with that carrot of seemingly less violence? Why not set a timetable for withdrawal that says, "Hey, we appologize for invading your country under false pretenses. We can only help out so long. You have to figure out something for the long-term."
Instead, Bush is making photos ops and horribly mispronouncing the names of the leaders of Israel and the West Bank. That deal may not hold much promise either.
And another time-frame continually reverberates in the news. 2008, 2008, 2008. Olmert and Abbas are set to figure out a two-state solution at the end of 2008, Maliki says things will get better in Iraq after he declares a "War on Corruption" 2008, Pakistan is set to have elections in 2008, and after 2008, we'll have another president.
The disruption in Iraq will last much longer than 2008. But in the meantime, can we get a way to stop throwing lives of loved ones over to a conflict that one military cannot solve? It takes a village.