How naive are we?, Or: It’ll take a while to fix Iraq

by hulk

TIME this week ran an article titled “Facing Reality”, about how grim the situation is in Iraq.

I also read a disgusting article(and a very welcome response to it this week) in the Campus Times where the author whined about the $90 billion cost of rebuilding Iraq and how that could be better spent on tuition for college students. Wow. I thought liberals were supposed to be the generous ones.

Bush, Bush’s supporters, and Bush’s critics all made assumptions about what would happen with the war in Iraq. We won the war, easily. The reconstruction is another matter. There’s a populace full of people ready to take advantage of a delicate situation in which clear leadership is not established. I can almost guarantee you that Iran is secretly backing radical clerics to attempt to establish a theocracy in Iraq. Then there are plenty of clerics and politicians who are working on their own to seize power. On top of all this, the council that has been established to govern Iraq is fighting to establish legitimacy, so that government functions can be reestablished and elections can occur ASAP. The US is trying to keep the peace but soldiers are being killed every day by Saddam loyalists and terrorists. We planned to quickly reestablish basic services when we conducted our bombings during the combat operations, but Saddam loyalists continually work against us, blowing up power lines, water pipes and oil facilities. The people are restless, and jobless, and will listen to any nut who claims to have the solution.

Several things need to happen. First, we need to increase the amount of soldiers, not by sending more from here but by getting more governments to participate in the peacekeeping efforts. It’s really swell that Germany wants to “help”(exploit) the economic situation, but we need troops to kill the damn terrorists who are sniping soldiers and blowing up vital services. We’ve got a good international force going, but it needs to be increased. Second, we need to get things going back to business as usual. We need a functioning government, which is on its way, government services, and all those nice things like electricity and water. Third, we need jobs over there. These can come from a few sources. One, the government can employ a good amount of people. Two, Iraqis could be employed to assist with the reconstruction of their own country. Three, the oil needs to be flowing again, and Iraqis should be running that. The oil needs to be flowing again, to provide jobs for the Iraqis and to give their government a source of revenue. Now, before I see some dirty hippie outside my window with one of them “No Blood for Oil” signs(which never made sense in the first place, morons), I’ll be the first to protest if we profit so much as $1 from the oil in Iraq. But that won’t happen. That oil belongs to the people and should benefit the Iraqis and the Iraqis alone.

All of this being said, we can’t abandon Iraq on ideological terms, and I find it reprehensible that people would suggest such an option. John Kerry said something I liked a couple weeks ago, “‘I told you so’ is not a policy”. Whatever you’re thoughts were before the war, we need to help these people now. We can’t leave them, because Iraq would quickly become either a theocracy or some poor hellhole, or both. Iraq is a good opportunity for the United States to show its resolve, by giving the people of Iraq a much better nation to live in than they had just a year ago. The cost of reconstruction can be debated, sure, because politicians have a tendency to give government money to their buddies, so I’m sure that $90 billion has some waste in it. However, I don’t wanna hear any talk of how there shouldn’t be any cost. $90 billion is a small price to pay for helping a whole nation of people.