Bringing the troops home doesn’t mean abandoning the Iraqis
In response to a question about not being able to abandon the Iraqi people, but also needing to leave.
Peace isn’t the absence of war, it’s the presence of justice, and our presence in Iraq as occupiers are a catalyst for violence.
When you look at the history of colonial occupations you see what is happening in Iraq right now – the occupation creates social divisions that turn into violence because there is such chaos in the country – you see it in what happened in Iraq while the British were there in the 20s, France in Algeria and Vietnam, the British in India. The violence continues as long as the occupation does, the longer and more brutal the occupation the greater the divisions between groups in the society that historically coexist peacefully in the midst of self-serving power grabs then the longer the violence continues after the occupiers leave (ex. the violence in India, the decision for Pakistan to become a separate country, the mass exodus and displacement of Muslims and Hindus in the process along with massacres and cruel violence that was previously unheard of between these groups).
Our presence is the cause of societal disintegration, and believing that we can create democracy at the end of a gun, or bring peace to a society that we destroyed, is absurd.
To bring the troops home doesn’t mean we’re advocating for abandoning the Iraqi people. The Iraqi government is seen as impotent against the U.S. occupation, and therefore not trustworthy or reliable – more of a problem when those inside the govt view it as such and use their positions of power to manipulate or gain from the disaster through creating death squads disguised as police officers or diverting funds for their personal or family’s benefit. Our withdrawal from the country will give power and sovereignty, as well as responsibility, back to the Iraqi government so that they can start rebuilding the country, both the infrastructure and the society. It would also require some sort of transitional international peacekeeping force, chosen by the Iraqi government and under their control as to how long they stay and what they do, that should be bankrolled by the U.S. – though U.S. involvement could have no further say than ‘we will pay for this for x years.’
Withdrawal would also mean the U.S. needs to pay for extensive reconstruction and economic development in the country under the control of the Iraqi government, to help the country recover from the occupation and the 12 years of harsh sanctions we imposed on Iraq before that, that would go to Iraqi citizens (who rebuilt the country after the first Gulf War) rather than the inept and lecherous U.S. contractors who are currently receiving billions in contracts that they never carry through on while also resolving the issue of high unemployment and poverty in the country.
Right now there is no hope in the country because there is no justice in sight; our continued presence is the cause of this. Peace in Iraq is far cheaper than the continued occupation, and the longer we say the greater the divisions in the society and less likely they can be repaired. When the U.S. security plans are reduced to digging trenches around Baghdad, or building walls around neighborhoods for ‘protection’ then we must acknowledge that there is need for radical change and that our withdrawal is a part of that change that is needed to stem the loss of life.
Have we not done enough to Iraq that now we must stay until the end of time ‘helping’ them with gunpower? Do we ask the bull in the china shop to stay and clean up it’s mess or do we get it out of the shop as soon as possible and start over from there?
Hope that helps answer your question/concerns. We can’t abandon the Iraqi people, nor can we stay and be the central focus of the violence and creator of chaos that is causing so many their lives, so let’s be responsible in our solidarity with the Iraqi people and give them back control over their lives and their country.