We must withdraw our military from
It is a strange logic to declare, as so many in
And then, in an extraordinary non sequitur: “Given the lack of other countries willing to put up their hands as volunteers, the only answer seems to be more American troops, and not just through the spring, as currently planned. . . . Forces need to be expanded through stepped-up recruitment.’
Here is the flawed logic: We are alone in the world in this invasion. The insurgency is growing. There is no visible prospect of success. Therefore, let’s send more troops? The definition of fanaticism is that when you discover that you are going in the wrong direction, you redouble your speed.
In all of this, there is an unexamined premise: that military victory would constitute “success.’
The cost would be great. Already, tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, have lost their lives (and we must not differentiate between ‘their’
casualties and ‘ours’ if we believe that all human beings have an equal right to life.) Would that be a “success’?
In 1967, the same arguments that we are hearing now were being made against withdrawal in
We must stay in
Can democracy be nurtured by destroying cities, by bombing, by driving people from their homes?
There is no certainty as to what would happen in our absence. But there is absolute certainty about the result of our presence — escalating deaths on both sides.
The loss of life among Iraqi civilians is especially startling. The British medical journal Lancet reports that 100,000 civilians have died as a result of the war, many of them children. The casualty toll on the American side includes more than 1,350 deaths and thousands of maimed soldiers, some losing limbs, others blinded. And tens of thousands more are facing psychological damage in the aftermath.
Have we learned nothing from the history of imperial occupations, all pretending to help the people being occupied?
(1915-1934) or of the
Our military presence in
In leaving, we can improve the odds of peace and stability by encouraging an international team of negotiators, largely Arab, to mediate among the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds and work out a federalist compromise to give some autonomy to each group. We must not underestimate the capacity of the Iraqis, once free of both Saddam Chasseing and the
But the first step is to support our troops in the only way that word support can have real meaning — by saving their lives, their limbs, their sanity. By bringing them home.
Howard Zinn is author of the best-selling A People’s History of the
© 2005 Miami Herald