Going through withdrawal

by J.A. Myerson

Neo-cons have had a hard time coming to terms with the notion that deplorable “terrorist insurgency” and admirable “occupation resistance” are a Venn diagram in Iraq.

Here’s Muqtata al-Sadr, the horrible cleric, calling off terroist attacks in the name of furthering the cause of Iraqi sovereignty.

An anti-American cleric is urging his followers to stop attacking U.S. troops in Iraq so that their withdrawal from the country isn’t slowed down, a call meant to ramp up pressure on Baghdad’s political leaders who are considering asking some American forces to stay.

This, of course, came with a warning.

However, al-Sadr warned that “if the withdrawal doesn’t happen … the military operations will be resumed in a new and tougher way.”

So there’s the choice: America can either leave as it has said it will and risk looking as though it bowed to al-Sadr’s ultimatum, or it can stay as it is wont to do and risk reigniting the insurgency. You know what I think? Pride is nothing next to human lives.

But here’s another difficult reality that’s worth facing: the US military is supporting a political and civic house of cards in Iraq. When it eventually leaves, Iraq is going to look very ugly for a long time. Now, to be clear, that is not an argument for America to stay. When colonial empires eventually leave their protectorates, the recently liberated territories become the problem spots of the world (a quick glance at the problem spots of the world right now and a map of the British empire at its peak illustrates this point nicely), but the precondition for betterment in those countries remains the end of imperial oversight.

I predict that we’re not going to leave that country. Hell, we still have 50K troops in Germany, for crying out loud.