Get them the hell out of Iraq, and Afghanistan for that matter.
As long as our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters are assigned to places like Forward Operating Base Falcon, as long as their jobs involve driving around Bahgdad or Kirkuk or Fallujah in tanks with guns trained on the local population, as long as they are ordered to bust down doors and drag Iraqi citizens out into the street -- bagging their heads and cuffing their wrists -- and haul them off for questioning somewhere, we fertilize their hatred against us.
In fact, given what happened at Abu Ghraib and other holding facilities in Iraq, we lost the Iraqi hearts and minds a long time ago.
A large majority of Iraqis want us to leave.
Our soldiers don't want to be there.
Top military men are in full revolt against the status quo. In an unprecedented display of dismay, they are retiring their commissions early to come out and say that the way the "war" is being waged is a farce.
Yet those responsible for this farce are still in their jobs -- "Yer doin' a good job, Rummy!"
There is an explanation for the disastrous state of affairs in Mesopotamia. Let me preface this by reminding us that nothing we were told in the pre-war buildup has turned out to be true. There were no WMD. Saddam Hussein was not an imminent threat to us or to his neighbors. We were not greeted with flowers. And our invasion and occupation sure as hell cannot be likened to a cakewalk.
There is an explanation for the disastrous state of affairs. We saw the new rationale, the new goalpost, laid out for us in the Chimp's press conference yesterday. Why are we in Iraq now? It is no longer the lofty notion of bringing democracy to the region. We are there now because Iraq is unstable, and we will stay until the job is done, that is, until Iraq reaches a point of "stability." How does that make sense, though ... how is that a reasonable goal?
It's clear that our continued occupation is the cause of instability, violence, chaos, resentment, and attacks. In fact, US intelligence agencies are uniformly of the opinion that we are breeding more terrorists by staying in Iraq. How does it make sense that staying another day will somehow magically change this fact? Simple answer: it doesn't.
There is an explanation for the ongoing disaster: we need an unstable Iraq to justify our continued presence. The longer we stay the more permanent bases we complete. The longer we stay, the more our permanent presence becomes the "facts on the ground." The longer we stay, the more resources in Iraq we can steal. The longer we stay, the more Iraqis who have means will leave the country. The longer we stay, the weaker the rest of the population becomes.
I ask myself, "Is it possible this administration is willing to be called incompetent and delusionary to cover for the real reasons we are there?" I ask myself, "Are the real reasons for our invasion and occupation any different from what they were initially? And if not, why should we believe the administration would tell us the truth now?" I doubt the real reasons are any more politically palatable than they were almost 4 years ago.
All this leads me to think we have only one option now... a military withdrawal, in as orderly a fashion as possible, and as quickly as possible. There are many who say, "But this will create a mess!" Yes, it is likely it will, at least in the near term. And we will have to face it, accept it, and recognize that this is the result of our misguided and mismanaged attempt at empire-building in the Middle East. We have to demand accountability from those responsible.
I thought, and wrote, a long time ago that the ill-conceived invasion was akin to opening Pandora's box. What's done is done. If we feel, as a nation, that we bear the responsibility to fix it, we first have to admit that we cannot fix it with guns and bombs and torture -- the very things that broke it in the first place.
We did break Iraq. On purpose. Our soldiers are not able to fix it, by the very nature of our armed forces. We are not fighting terrorism in Iraq, we are fighting Iraqi citizens. We've helped create a situation that has fractured Iraqi society and civilization. We've helped to pit Sunni against Shi'ite against Kurd.
All the king's horses and all the king's men cannot put Iraq together again.
Bring our troops home now. Anything less is horribly cruel to our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. Anything less continues to hide the disaster we've created, on purpose, with the fiction that somehow our troops can make it better.
It's time we all accepted responsibility and face the music.