Sunday, June 19, 2005

Whose Enemies?

With his polls down, Bush takes flak on Iraq from a host of critics--including a key moderate Republican (6/27/05)
  Two Republicans, including the congressman who brought 'freedom fries' to the Capitol, even joined a pair of Democratic colleagues in sponsoring a bill calling for a troop withdrawal plan to be drawn up by year's end.
  For now, most Republicans remain publicly loyal to the White House. 'Why would you give your enemies a timetable?' asks House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

DeLay has an interesting way of framing the issue. By "your enemies", does he refer to enemies of the United States? It's Iraq that's being attacked - or at least, if the mainstream media can be trusted, there are many more suicide bombings every day in Iraq than in the United States.

According to President Bush's own assessment of the progress of democracy in Iraq, it is a sovereign nation, controlling its own destiny, and calling all the shots in the conflict with the resistance, and the U.S. and coalition military are there in a support and training capacity only. Presumably, if the United States were fighting its own enemies, it would not be doing so under the authority of the Iraqi government.

The legitimate work of the U.S. military in Iraq is largely complete: Saddam Hussein has been removed from power, and such weapons of mass destruction as are expected to be found (none, as even the U.S. now admits) have been found. The Iraq military may, as President Bush still insists, require additional training, but it now seems the U.S. military devotes more resources to scouring the borders for foreign fighters (who, according to U.S. estimates, account for about 25% of the resistance) than to training.

The timetable would not be for "our enemies'" benefit; it would be for the benefit of the Iraqi and American citizens, government, and armed forces, as an affirmation of Iraq's sovereignty; as a sober acknowledgment that the United States can no longer reasonably be expected to support the new democratic government of Iraq with the sacrifice of American lives; and as a reassurance that the sacrifices will not continue indefinitely.

This is now Iraq's struggle; the time to acknowledge that fact, and move forward, has arrived. May the withdrawal-deadline resolution, and other such pressures to hasten an end to this folly of foreign occupation, succeed.


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