Why we need the conservative media
And the answer is, of course! The United States and Britain both had civil wars so only a racist would suggest that Iraq isn't entitled to a sectarian bloodbath.
Yglesias makes a fairly obvious point that is too rarely stated:
The view seems to be that Iraq is dysfunctional and that if US forces leave it will become even more dysfunctional, perhaps sliding further down the path to civil war. The problem I've always, always had with this argument is that it doesn't demonstrate anything unless you can also make the case that keeping our troops there will solve the problem.There are two discussions that we, as a nation, must have. One is when our troops can return (at least most of them) from Iraq.
A second, and quite different question is, what can we do to fix what we broke in Iraq? There's lots wrong in Iraq, and some of it is not our fault. Our moral sense can be assuaged if we don't manage to reunite the Shia and the Sunni in brotherly love. But they weren't in a civil war before, and we need to keep our intervention from causing such a war.
If our continued presence is exacerbating the tendency toward civil war, we need to think about a new strategy, for our sake and Iraq's. The problem is illustrated by this episode, reported by Knight-Ridder in a story titled "Order, peace elusive in Iraqi city of Samarra":
"Strap those motherf-----s to the hood like a deer," said Staff Sgt. James Robinson, 25, of Hughes, Ark.In other words, the continued US presence, at least as it's been implemented, is making things worse for our soldiers, for Iraqis, for the city, and for the stability of Iraq.
The soldiers heaved the two bodies onto the hood of a Humvee and tied them down with a cord. The dead insurgents' legs and arms flapped in the air as the Humvee rumbled along.
Iraqi families stood in front of the surrounding houses. They watched the corpses ride by and glared at the American soldiers.
Fifteen months earlier, when the 1st Infantry Division sent some 5,000 Iraqi and U.S. soldiers to retake Samarra from Sunni Muslim insurgents, it was a test of the American occupation's ability not only to pacify but also to rebuild a part of Iraq dominated by the country's minority Sunnis.
More than a year later, American troops still are battling insurgents in Samarra. Bloodshed is destroying the city and driving a wedge between the Iraqis who live there and the U.S. troops who are trying to keep order.
If pulling our troops out would calm Samarra, should we do it? Does that mean it's the right time to reduce troop levels? Should we realign our tactics in Samarra (and elsewhere in Iraq)? Or do we just need to stop strapping Iraqis to the hoods of Humvees?
There are lots of possible answers to these questions, but insisting that even civil war in Iraq would be Good News is just making that conversation impossible, and leaves our soldiers in harm's way for longer.