The phrase “anti-war movement” is a stupid phrase. Everyone should be anti-war. I am against War, I wish we could avoid it, I wish people did not have to die; but sometimes it is necessary. As a result, I will refer to those who are known as anti-War as anti-Iraq. Those who are against the current military situation in Iraq (it is not a War by the way, despite what Bush or Pelosi want to call it) usually have asinine and ridiculous arguments against it. We all know what they are, so I am not going to bother rehashing them. Why? because their arguments can all be broken down to two things: emotion and our reason for being in Iraq in the first place.
Let’s start with Emotion. The biggest reason why so many people can’t take the arguments of the “anti-Iraq” movement seriously (even if they support withdrawl of the troops) is because the anti-Iraqis’ arguments are based on emotion and not on rationality or reason. Watch a YouTube video of anti-Iraq folks, actually listen to the arguments they make, or even just have a conversation with one while playing devil’s advocate and supporting Bush; they will see bulging blood vessels and red faces and hear childish name-calling and irrational conspiracy theories, these from otherwise normal and rational people. It is amazing.
The problem with allowing excess emotion to dictate your argument is that it prevents one from looking at the big picture and attempting to look objectively at the current situation we are in. Every argument against Iraq is premised on our reason’s for being in Iraq in the first place. It is argued that Bush lied, there were no WMD’s, etc etc. Whether those things are true or not doesn’t matter. The reasons for which we went to Iraq in the first place is completely irrelevant to where we go from here, completely irrelevant. Why we are there does not change the fact that we are there. We can’t go back and change the past, we have to make do with the situation we now face. So let’s ask some questions and attempt to answer them honestly and rationally:
If we withdrew from Iraq today…
…what would happen to the U.S. image world-wide? Would it become worse or be better than it now is?
… what would be the plight and future of the Iraqi people?
… what would happen to the Iraqi government? Will maintain democracy?
… what impact would such a move have on the security of the greater Middle-East? Who would it help, who would it harm (if anyone)?
… what impact would it have on terrorist movements across the World? Would the US be safer from Terrorist attacks?
… what would Iran and Syria do? Would Iran attempt to install an Islamic government based on their theocracy? If so, is that a bad thing?
… would Iraq fall into full civil war that would evolve into another Somalia or Sudan?
… what would happen to the booming economies in the Northern (Kurdish) and Southern parts of Iraq?
… who would control the oil? Would the Iraqi people benefit from it?
… what do China and Russia do? Do they seek to exert their influence more?
… what economic impact does it have on the US? Does it promote or denigrate American economic interests and influence throughout the World?
When I look at these questions and try to answer them as a student of International Relations and not as a political commentator, I cannot see a positive outcome for the United States in any of them. Undoubtedly, the terrorists would be encouraged and have more resolve, just look at the way they treated Mogadishu in 1993, they still use that in propoganda, imagine what they would do with Iraq. We would completely lose all credibility in the international community; we may only have a little now, but we still have some, it would be gone if we left. Other’s would know we were weak and timid and do not follow through. It would be the beginning of the end for the U.S. as a world power.
Some of you may say, “so what, why do we need to be a world power?” That is an understandable question, but now ask yourself, “if it were not the US, who would it be?” There are three possible answers: 1. China – a communist country who denies its citizens freedoms and is a human-rights disaster; 2. Russia – a country headed back into communism, ruthless; 3. No one would really step up and non-governmental groups, like terrorists, would stage coups and attempt to impose their will on people across the world, primarily in 3rd world places like Africa. None of these answers are nearly as good as having the US as at least one of the world’s superpowers. Despite our many failings, we are still a democratically elected country – no matter how much a person may despise Bush, at least they know that his time is limited, and that is more than the Chinese, Russians, or Iranians can say. We still have a strong moral compass and our economic system, despite imperfections, has spurred economic growth through out the world, from Europe to Asia. And, finally, we still are there to help others when times get tough, we provide more humanitarian support than anyother country in the World, not only that but our military prowess allows countries like Canada, Netherlands, and New Zealand to live in peace and prosperity without having to build huge militaries and defenses, they know that we have their backs and will protect them if needed.
Certainly, if we pulled out early from Iraq, we would still have some influence in the World, I do not want to say that we will become like Canada or Norway (nothing against those countries, their influence is just minimal. I love Canada, I lived there for two years; it is a wonderful place). But certainly we would be harmed indefinitely. There is absolutely no good that can come out of our early departure from Iraq. So regardless of how loud the anti-Iraq movement is, from both the Left and the Right, realize that this is arguably the most important endeavor we have been in since WWII. Why we went there is irrelevant, we are there, so let’s finish the job and make the world a better place.