My blood ran cold this morning as I read through the newspaper to find that there were absolutely no articles on Iraq. Could this really be the end? Did the violence truly stop? Well...no. Actually this morning a suicide bomber killed at least ten people in a crowded marketplace. And while the violence in Baghdad is slowing down, it only seems to grow elsewhere. American troops, it's sad to say, appear to be only relocating the insurgents. And continually I hear debate over the issue of Iraq being caught in the midst of a civil war.
Let's be honest, this war is anything but civil, but yes--the sectarian violence has reached a point where the country is divided and fighting over power. I turned to msn.com for some news because apparently none happened in my local newspaper. And I read an article about Sadr City--the stronghold of the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr--I found out that the people there have been living in filth since the war broke out. Sewage backup pours into the streets. People throw their waste and excrement in piles in front of their homes. Torn power lines may give the people there enough electricity for only four hours.Hundreds of thousands out of the 2.5 million people who live there are without jobs as an effect of Saddam Hussein's reign. And as much as I support our troops over there, I cringed when I read this quote from Marine Captain Seth Crawford, "This is their lifestyle. This is how they've been doing it for hundreds of years. And they're not going to change overnight...That's what works for them right now." I really hope that this quote was taken out of context before I read it.
I shudder at the thought that our troops who are in Sadr City and are supposed to be working to build a better Iraq can simply say, "That's what works for them right now." How the hell can that "work" for anyone? Do you really think that they have chosen to live like that and are content with the current state of things? I for one think that we are doing a lousy job over there when you consider that the Mahdi Army not only protected these people but also provided some health care as well as other amenities.
If anything, I think the lessons we have learned from Sadr City are that the country is ready to heal itself if we would only stop wounding it. If we left, at least we know that one faction seeking power is willing to help its people. Before we kicked down doors and pointed guns in the faces of ordinary people, things were better. A civil war is fought by the people, not a foreign army. The only thing we are doing over there is slowing progress.
Our alternative motives, personal agendas and corporate interests have taken a noble concept and tainted it with corruption. Our ambassadors of freedom and democracy have only led to mistrust and violence. In a place where we don't belong we should leave. The American government can and should monitor the Iraqi's progress and assist them but we cannot involve ourselves simply to install a government of our choosing. That will never work! We should diplomatically (not militarily) endorse a government that can work internally in Iraq as well as internationally but that is as far as we should go. Give them a chance, George. I know you'll feel that empty nest syndrome but you have to let this war go!