Iraq: Unconscionable?

My entire life I’ve been told to stand up for what’s right, to fight for the underrepresented and to take a stand against the persons or forces that inhibit those who are powerless or meek. What I hear coming from those who simply want to give up on Iraq is against every grain of truth our society strives to instill in our youth. Both political parties seem unable to acknowledge how truly complicated this matter is. One side is so supportive of Bush’s initiatives that it simply can’t see around them, while the other is so opposed that it’s willing to sacrifice safety at home and former commitments in an effort to promote a rapid exit the region.

Those erupting in steam and shouting on about immediate troop removal are missing the point: We’re imbedded, we’ve debunked an entire nation — it’s our moral and ethical responsibility to at least attempt some sort of stabilization. Now, I do understand that we’ve already sacrificed so much; that I simply cannot deny. And I am acutely aware of the efforts we’ve already put forth in this regard, but I still have to question it all — is pulling out truly the best option? Not only does this enable dangerous leaders to bid for control of a vulnerable locality, but it also undercuts America as a world power.

Without a doubt, the U.S.-led War in Iraq has been controversial since its inception, and in many ways we’ve already undercut this perception and much of the global power that is associated with it. Our nation has followed Iraq closely and as events have worsened, the American people have progressively and collectively begun to question the war’s handling – and that is the beauty of this nation working at its best; it is a privilege that so many Iraqis never had under Saddam. Unfortunately, freedom of expression is still only a dream in post-Hussein Iraq, as insurgents ravage on, working earnestly to further tear the fabrics that once held the nation together.

Coping with the situation isn’t about finding a yes or a no, or a right or wrong; it’s about reevaluating and then following through and doing what’s right, not only for the American people, but also for the Iraqis.

I’m disheartened by the fact that American mothers and fathers have endured such intense loss and heartache. I also know how many of “our own” people go without homes, health insurance and other basic accommodations; the war is an immense cost that is taking away from the American people. With this said, I can’t help but find myself questioning the reasons that so many Americans have for wanting to “cut and run.”

Yes, the war has been a disaster. We’ve lost well over 3,500 service men and women, who have bravely given their lives at their country’s request. We can list over and over again the reasons why we should simply leave Iraq. The difficult task, however, would be listing the reasons that we should stay – a task I personally feel too many Americans have avoided.

When there were hundreds of Iraqi children being placed in torture chambers and meat grinders, who was there to stop the carnage? When families were separated and wiped out in genocide-esque fury, who stood ground against those who inflicted such pain and animosity on civilians? No one. Now, America has gone in and a more dramatic and negative situation has taken form, and after much of the calamity has intensified since our arrival, we want an early exit. It just doesn’t seem fair.

All too often I hear individuals speak about how we’re all one people – how every individual present on this earth is part of a larger global family. But this interconnectedness seems to diminish once we discuss Iraq. “Those are our people dying over there!” is one common statement that is often offered by those who want America to pull out. Right, and in terms of a “global family” – those innocent Iraqis killed by Saddam before our arrival and those currently suffering at the hands of insurgents are our people as well. “Our people” means humanity, not simply Americans. So where do we draw the line? Are our reasons for pulling out rooted in selfishness or are we right to say that it’s time to bring the troops home?

[To be continued…in the meantime, comments are welcome]