The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Dark Path

The United States came to Iraq to rid a beleaguered country of a homicidal tyrant and his minions, to eliminate a regime that has murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, used weapons of mass destruction on its own people, invaded a neighboring country, and threatened others. We succeeded in that goal. Saddam Hussein is no more, hanged like a common criminal.

We also entered Iraq in an effort to help the Iraqi people choose democracy and freedom and a path into a world of prosperity and calm. We did this because the Middle East is a breeding ground for Jihadists who threaten virtually every liberal Western value. These barbarians survive only where chaos reigns, and the best disinfectant for them is democracy and freedom. Our goals were noble, but with hindsight, far too optimistic.

We hoped that the centuries’ old feuds between Sunni and Shia Arabs would be set aside and a new Iraq would emerge. We were wrong. Forces from the outside, al Queida on the Sunni side and Iran on the Shia side did everything in their power to foment civil war. They have succeeded. Worse, too many Iraqis have chosen the dark path of death squads, mass revenge, and suicide bombings. They are leading their new country into civil war, and the forces of darkness rejoice.

Someday, Iraq may emerge from this chaos a better place. Someday, the people of Iraq may understand that our efforts were noble, and that they were given a rare chance to journey to a better place. But for now, they have chosen a different journey, and it is not one that we can join.

We are saddened that many good people will suffer as Iraq uses violence to purge its hatreds. But our best efforts to referee their conflict have failed. It is time to allow Iraq to take the path it has chosen, recognizing full well that it will lead to more death, to ethnic cleansing, and quite possibly, to a an Islamist dictatorship that will not be much better than the dictatorship we displaced.

Iraq is one battle in a much larger war against a worldwide Islamofascist ideology. The battle in Iraq began well, but ended poorly, and it is reasonable to assert that we have lost.

I can only view those who take pleasure in our failure in Iraq with contempt. It is, quite simply, a tragedy. Not for us, we’ll return to fight Islamofascists another day, but for millions of decent Iraqi people, who want nothing except calm and peace.

We will leave Iraq, sooner rather than later. But before you rejoice or crow about your long-time opposition to the Iraq war, understand that every battle lost makes Islamists stronger, and every incremental victory they achieve (whether real or imagined) strengthens their resolve to destroy every value you hold dear.