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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Comparing Iraq

If you need an op/ed column to read today, I'd suggest this outstanding piece by Stuart Gottlieb, Director of Policy Studies at Yale, and former Democratic foreign policy advisor comparing Rwanda and Iraq.

Remember Rwanda? The history books have not treated kindly America's inaction while more than 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered by their Hutu compatriots in the spring of 1994 after a plane crash killed the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi.

Now consider a scenario in which the decisions and actions of the United States were the primary reasons for a country's descent into chaos and sectarian violence, yet instead of doing everything possible to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, America chose to walk away. What would the history books say about that?

Gottlieb places blame where it belongs, on the Bush Administration for a lot of the problems in Iraq, but also reminds the Democrats that it wasn't a 51-49 party line vote that got us there.

How does Gottlieb think history will remember the US as Iraq is concerned? He starts with another history lesson (mostly for Democrats);

History will note that the same Democrats who supported America's interventions to help end civil wars in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s now favor a withdrawal policy in Iraq that is likely to cause even greater human suffering.

I believe that it's a subtle reminder to Democrats that the "moral imperative" that was invoked to stop the ethnic cleansing in Europe in the 1990's is probably even a larger imperative in Iraq. While there is no doubt that what was going on in both Bosnia and Kosovo were horrible, what will happen in Iraq will be worse, and of our own doing, more so if we leave prematurely

Gottlieb doesn't stand up for an opened commitment in Iraq, however he does seem to think the idea of a quick withdrawal is the worse of the two options, because of the aftermath.

The commenter's on the article for the most part prove how horrible most Americans are at seeing the truth when it doesn't fit their ideology. We watched what happened in Rwanda, and continue to cry for Darfur, but for some reason think Iraq will be "Heaven on the Tigris" if we just leave. Suddenly everyone will love each other, and there will be no need for sectarian violence.

Those folks ignore the targets of the violence, not the US troops for the most part; just enough of them to keep it on the nightly news; but instead civilians in Iraq, whom the sides are trying to terrorize into compliance, so that when we do pull out, they can have their way.

Gottlieb makes a lot of sense in his article, you just have to pull off your ideological blinders to see it.

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