Prime Minister Maliki Shows Us the Door

by Susan Lenfestey

Okay, time to get outta Dodge. We've been given the perfect deus ex machina to get out of Iraq by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who is understandably ticked off by the latest reports of American troops killing Iraqi civilians at Haditha, and has stated that violence against civilians has become a “daily phenomenon” by American-led troops who “do not respect the Iraqi people.”

I admit that I come to this cut-and-run strategy belatedly, being more in the We-Broke-It-We-Fix-It school of thought. But it's now clear even to dreamers like me that we are a huge part of the problem and not the solution. Arguably we always were the problem, but once the disastrous course was set (and we won't cover that old ground here -- but neither will we ever forget) I reluctantly bought into the idea that we couldn't abandon all the Iraqi people whose lives we had upended. I know some capital P patriot is going to yammer at me about how we toppled a ruthless dictator who gassed his own people, and yes we did, but now we're doing a lot of the killing of his own people for him, while he sits in a box being tried for crimes against civilians that are starting to sound sickeningly familiar.

And who, other than Don Rumsfeld, can say with a straight face that Iraq is a better place today? The New York Times reports that in the last 10 months the state has issued new passports to 1.85 million Iraqis, a quarter of the country's estimated middle-class, which right there ought to tell us something about how much better it really is.

Back when, I didn't see how we could justify so much loss of life on either side, only to pull out and leave a maelstrom of warring factions behind. So it seemed to me we needed to stay there to - prevent violence so that democracy could take root? Well, even that didn't really make sense to me, because in a democracy the majority rules, and in Iraq that's the Shiites, and whole militias of them aren't exactly immersed in democratic traditions, such as equal rights for women, just for starters. Shouldn't someone in Bush-world have been thinking about this beforehand? Ditto in Palestine?

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