quinta-feira, novembro 30, 2006

NATO to the Rescue

The United States can't save Iraq. Here's who can.

As the United States begins to acknowledge the magnitude of its defeat in Iraq, the conflict looks more than ever like a speed-chess replay of Vietnam. A tragedy that took a dozen years to unfold in Southeast Asia has played out in less than four in Mesopotamia. Once again, an intervention that sprang largely from idealistic, anti-totalitarian motives has gone awry because of an administration's deceptions, incomprehension, and incompetence. Once again, the domino theory at the heart of the case has been disproved. And once again, we find ourselves looking for a way out that won't compound the catastrophe.

As in the final stages of the Vietnam War, we face the question: If we have lost, why are we still there? One answer is that George Bush is a stubborn man--even this week, he was insisting we won't withdraw "until the mission is complete"--an apparent synonym for "when hell freezes over." A better answer is that we're staying to prevent genocide. Without a military force separating Sunnis and Shiites, the present savagery could go Cambodian, with remaining secular democrats as the first victims. A power vacuum could provide a new operational base for al-Qaida and severe sectarian violence (call it what you prefer) could spiral into all-out civil war and regional conflict. As awful as it is now, Iraq would surely get much, much worse if we yanked our troops.


- Jacob Weisberg, Slate

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In an Uncertain World