Saturday, April 12, 2008

Five Years On In Iraq

Austin Bay, Glenn Reynolds, Jules Crittenden, Bill Roggio, and Michael Totten discuss via podcast the current status and comment on the past and future in Iraq as well.

It's worth the listen, or you can read the transcript.

One can argue that we should never have been in Iraq to begin with, as many do, and no one who has half a soul should actually look FORWARD to war. However I still feel as I did five years ago that the changing landscape of Islamic Fundamentalism, particularly in regards to terrorism, no longer gave us the luxury to remain isolationists in terms of rogue middle eastern regimes.

Michael Totten has the most insightful reality dose of the program with this bit-

MR. BAY: Let’s bring Michael Totten back in. And Michael, I want to pick up on something that Jules Crittenden said a moment ago. He talked about the United States as a common enemy. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s emir in Iraq in February 2004 said that a democratic Iraq was an enemy. And since, a democratic Iraq, a democratic federal Iraq would be a common enemy of the entire slew of characters that Jules outlined a moment ago, insurgent groups in Iran. Now, you’ve spent time in Kurdistan, Michael, sometimes called the Iraq that works. Does a federal democratic Iraq have a chance?

MR. TOTTEN: Well, it depends on if you want to include the Kurds in it. I mean, if the — if Kurdistan were to succeed, you would still have eighty percent of the people in Iraq just still existing in Iraq. And they would still presumably call the country Iraq. And the majority of the Sunnis and the Shiites do want to remain in the same country. But most of the Kurds don’t. Now, the Kurdish regional government is not talking about secession right now. But there was a non-binding referendum a couple of years ago in the Kurdish autonomous region and I think it was ninety-eight or ninety-nine percent of people who voted to secede from Baghdad. And there’s no way that this is going to be — this isn’t going to come up again at some point in the future unless a couple of things happen. The Kurds are going to have to continue to be unable to secede for various reasons, which exists right now, being that Turkey threatens to invade. They don’t have the infrastructure for a viable state yet. Also, Baghdad is going to have to offer the Kurds something that they can’t refuse, something that they can’t get on their own. The way the Kurds look at it now is that the Arabs of Iraq formally oppressed them, and committed genocide against them and the current state of Iraq’s South Kurdistan is extremely dysfunctional, much more dysfunctional than Kurdistan. And so they figure why should we stay in this ridiculous country. And unless the rest of Iraq offers them something, they’re not going to want to stay. And eventually, it’s going to come to a head. But Iraq could still exist without Kurdistan, theoretically.

The Kurds I knew before the war in Nashville were easily the most pro-war folks I've ever met, and this was their country they wanted invaded. There are no guarantees at this point that Kurdistan seceeding doesn't happen. But there is absolutely no question whatsoever that Kurds and Iraqi's and the world in general are better off now that Saddam isn't bombing his own people.

I look at those protesting China's treatment of Tibet, or those who cry out for help to end the slaughter in Darfur, or even those poor folks in North Korea who are starving to death while another madman runs his country in to the ground. How can we argue for the end of these atrocities without supporting the war in Iraq?

Glenn Reynolds at the end of the podcast, reiterating Michael Totten's plea to not let up now that the surge is finally working adds this-

MR. BAY: Glenn Reynolds?

MR. REYNOLDS: Well, I think that’s right. And I think that — you know, Ann Althouse’s comment on Ted Kennedy after the Petraeus testimony was a year ago you wanted to give up ‘cause we were losing and now you want to give up because we’re winning. There’s a common theme there. I think that it’s important to win. And my prediction for the coming year, which is something that I think Petraeus telegraphed a little bit in his testimony is to keep your eye on Iran. I think there is more going on with Iran under the surface than we’re hearing about and I think that’s likely to make the big news in the coming twelve months.

Things to think about as we look towards November and the coming election.

Enjoy the weekend y'all.

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