Thursday, September 27, 2007

On Partitioning Iraq

[Cross-posted from The Motley Patriot]

There seems to be those in the United States Congress that believe it is up to the United States to decide the fate of Iraq. The "conventional wisdom" in Washington DC, to which I compare to "military intelligence", is that Iraq never knew how to govern itself before the U.S. invasion and, that Iraqi's will not be able to govern themselves after we leave so it is our right, our duty, to govern them.

Even some Democrats, both political and in the blogosphere, now say that we have to do "something - anything". Unfortunately, this mentality of "just do something", of "do anything", is no different than being stuck on a cliff and because you feel you have to do something - do anything - you jump to your death.

Iraq was the cradle of civilization. The region has seen the rise and fall of the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian cultures. The region, like any other during the time of Empire, saw its share of war. The region was conquered, ruled over, and then conquered again; Persia, Hellenistic, Parthians, and then Sassinid Persians all took their turns ruling over the region. The region was decimated by the Mongols and then annexed by the Ottomans, who lost the region, then regained it, only to lose it again after WWI when the League of Nations put the region under British rule.

Historians recite the history of Iraq like some justification to treat the region just as everyone else treated it; a prize to be won or lost. Yet, the turbulent history of the region is no different than any other. It was the dawning of civilization and of empire. An empire expanded, conquered, and then fell. Civilizations began and ended. Land had few borders other than what could be competently defended. Iraq was granted its independence in 1932 and then re-invaded by the British in 1941.

Like any country, Iraq had its share of political problems. The Hashemite monarchy was overthrown in a military coup. The cycle of regime, coup, regime ended when the Ba'ath Party took power in Iraq and Saddam Hussein rose to control Iraq. Few countries haven't seen this cycle of regime, coup, regime, and at times, it was the United States government itself that performed the coup; Chile, Guatamala, Iran, among the few.

The region of mesopotamia survived during a time before America was even born. The country of Iraq, once granted its independence from foreign rule and occupation, governed itself. The people of the region, and the country, have endured hardship and war before. They have risen from the ashes before and they can, they will, do so again.

The people of Iraq do not need our government trying to tell them what is "best" for them; that is what put the people of Iraq into the situation they are in now. President Bush told the world that the people of Iraq would be better off if Saddam Hussein wasn't the ruler of Iraq, and, we invaded. We destroyed their infrastructure, their livelihood, their families, their culture, and their system of government.

The abuses of Saddam Hussein were but one of the many changing justifications for the U.S. invasion in 2003. Dissidents to the government were jailed, tortured, and even killed. Names like Hitler and Stalin are frequently tossed out when talking of dictators who abused, tortured, and murdered its citizenry. Abuses such as secret prisons, people "disappearing", secret police, torture, and unfair trials are frequently cited by those who decry those rulers, yet, in America under President Bush, our own CIA has kidnapped innocent people off the street, tortured them, kept them in secret prisons, and then started "military tribunals" to get their desired verdicts.

President Bush did not have the "good" of the Iraqi people in mind when he invaded or the reconstruction efforts would not have been the sham they became. Iraqi's have now lived under Saddam Hussein's Abu Ghraib and America's Abu Ghraib; there has been little difference. Iraqi's have now lived under Saddam Hussein's militaristic rule and America's military occupation; there has been little difference since Iraqi's were gunned down in the street by Saddam's military and our own American troops/contractors do the same. Yet, our nation feels like we have some moral authority to decide the fate of Iraq? We believe that we can arbitrarily decide that partitioning Iraq would be "best" for them after we destabilized their entire culture, government, and tossed their country into anarchy?

Our Congress cannot even govern our own country effectively. While hundreds of thousands of people are homeless and millions lose their homes due to the rising disparity of income to cost of living, our Congress is voting to censure a political groups advertisement. Any real legislation is squashed while our Congress debates hip-hop lyrics. As more children go uninsured due to the rising cost of insurance premiums that provide less and less benefit, our Congress works to give immunity to corporations who violated established law. This is the government that is going to tell another country how to govern and what is "best" for their people?

The fact of the matter is that our invasion destabilized an entire country. It threatens to destabilize an entire region. We cannot fix the mess that we caused but we can do more damage and, it seems, we are hell-bent to do exactly that now that Sen. Biden believes that Iraq should be partitioned into three states; Shia, Sunni and Kurdish. When did Sen. Biden have the authority to make any decision that effected any country other than the United States? Since when did the American Congress decide Iraqi political matters? Where is that in our Constitution?

This is the exact reason that the people of the world hate Americans now; our belief that we control the world; that we can decide the fate of other, sovereign nations; the pure hubris and hypocrisy under which we live in this country while trying to tell every other nation how to behave and live.

The Iraq war has been the downfall of two countries; America and Iraq. The Iraq war has been the downfall of political leaders who supported it in America, Spain, Italy, and England. The Iraq war has been a travesty from day one and there is but one thing left to do; get out and stay out. We can leave no military forces at any base that we usurped or built in Iraq. We can leave no Embassy in Baghdad that will see the home of the CIA, American forces, and, as an afterthought, American diplomats. It is time for the Iraqi people to govern themselves without interference just as they did for centuries before our invasion.