Congressmember John Murtha got it precisely right when he called for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq within six months. I predict that as the war gets worse (can it get much worse? I bet it can) and we get closer to the midterm elections, Bush will draw down our forces significantly. Doesn’t matter whether he wants to or not. Those falling poll numbers not only for Bush but for Republican congressional candidates will force him to it.
But what will happen in Iraq after we leave? Oh God, will it be ugly. There will doubtless be sectarian violence on an unimaginable scale. I imagine Iraq, at least for a time, will resemble Pakistan with its rat-tat-tat Sunni-Shiite bombings and assassinations. Though perhaps Iraq will be worse since there will essentially be no legitimate source of order or authority (until another possibly brutal strongman comes along just like you-know-who).
Someone reading this is liable to say: “well, aren’t you confirming Bush’s argument that we need to stay in order to ensure order?” No, not at all. I don’t believe we can ensure order in Iraq whether we stay or go. I don’t believe the good Lord or any earthly power gave us the right to believe that. Nevertheless, if we think we’ve already seen carnage and bloodshed on a massive scale, I’m afraid we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
It’s really our own fault. If Bush had played this differently and not shown absolute disgust for the UN and other international bodies, we might’ve worked the UN into the scheme of things in Iraq right from the very beginning. If we’d handed over Iraq just after our “victory” then the insurgency might not have arisen, Mellor might not have been assassinated, and the world body would’ve removed this albatross from around our neck (it might not have even become an albatross).
But that’s all water under the bridge. There’s no way now to undo the damage we’ve brought upon ourselves. We will have to sit and watch as things descend into the maelstrom. My only hope is that even after we leave, if Iraq continues to be a world basket case, that this will redound to the utter shame of Bush’s presidency and permanently tarnish it. He deserves to seen by history as one of more adventurist presidents. We should remember the death and destruction he wrought and never let history forget it.