August 19, 2007

Soldiers on Iraq war.

The mood in America with regard to Iraq war is largely concerned with the best way to get out. There is still a respectable view point that the Americans should stay for some more time, but the only mainstream difference of opinion is how long more to stay.

There is also another emerging opinion, it seems to me, that the situation in Iraq is getting better. The "surge" is working. In an unusual step, a group of US soldiers fighting in Iraq wrote an op-ed piece in NYT saying that things are NOT improving in Iraq. They also explain why they will not improve unless the US makes substantial changes in its approach. The article shows a remarkable understanding of the Iraqi politics and historical awareness. It is a must read.
In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.

Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.

We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.


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