Monday, January 01, 2007

Iraq, Saddam's Execution

The New York Times today ran an interesting (and depressing) article about the rush to execute Saddam Hussein. It portrays the American authorities in Iraq as attempting to moderate the Iraqi government's haste to hang him as soon as possible. Another article (For Sunnis, Dictator's Degrading End Signals Ominous Dawn for the New Iraq) describes how the way that Saddam was execute is a threatening omen to Sunnis, and how the Iraqi government now seems to be an instrument of Shi'ite attempts to wreak vengeance on Sunnis.

When I read articles like this, I feel despair. What role can, or should, the U.S. be playing in Iraq? Should we just pull out? I'm afraid that if we do, then there will be massacres of Sunnis, who are after all a minority in the country. So is our task to mediate between the parties to a civil war? When I was talking to friends in the last couple of months, I said to them that if Iraq is consumed by a civil war, we should just leave - this to friends who opposed the war from the very beginning, with whom I disagreed fiercely. Other friends said to me before the war that they opposed our invasion of Iraq because it would lead to hideous chaos - and they have been proved correct.

I had some hope that the Iraq Study Group would have some useful suggestions for what we should do in Iraq - but now it seems that President Bush is completely ignoring their recommendations, and will probably approve an increase of American troops being sent to Iraq (a "surge"). I don't see what this will do except result in more dead and grievously injured Americans. (For a chilling report on all 3,000 American troops killed in Iraq, see Faces of the Dead in Iraq).

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