Monday, September 22, 2008

Politics: Obama and Iraq

I admire Obama, I believe Obama. I think that Obama is a man dedicated to America, dedicated to bringing about what he sees as the best possible world for peace and freedom. I find the offensive and libelous talk that has floated around the internet about Obama being a Muslim, being a racist, or being anti-American to be as disgusting as it is false. In the end though, I can’t vote for Obama.
My friend and mentor Paul Martin has made much of Obama’s stance on abortion on his blog at I think this is an issue that voters should pay attention to, but there’s something that is of at least as much importance to my mind.

“Nothing to gain from an endless war”
John McCain has gotten a lot of flack for saying he will stay in Iraq as long as it takes to finish the goals we set out to accomplish. Obama on the other hand has made us eloquent and clearly laid out promises. He has rightly stated that we should not have gone into Iraq in the first place, that our entrance into Iraq was a distraction from the necessary war in Afghanistan, and that the situation in Iraq seems intractable. Obama has promised the American people that within 16 months of his becoming President, he will have removed all but a residual military force from Iraq. I believe this decision is likely to lead to thousands of deaths (if not more).

A Terrible Kind of Hate

There’s no denying that Iraq is a mess, no denying that since the war began over 4,000 American troops have lost there lives and over a million Iraqis have perished from violent deaths. It’s hell over there. It’s damn ugly. A lot of people think that what’s going on in Iraq is that the people there hate us and want us out because we went in there and invaded their homelan
Publish Post
d. For some that may be true, but for the most part the fact of the matter is that it’s not about us. The fact is that the Iraqis hate each other.
The two major religious groups currently living in Iraq are the Sunni and the Shi'a, two sects of Islam that in the Middle-East often harbor a bitter and seething hatred of each other. This is not the kind of hate you feel for the guy who cuts you off on the road, it’s the kind of awful hate that led the KKK to lynch blacks in the South or the Nazis to kill six-million Jews. And, just like the KKK and the Nazis, it’s a hatred they perceive to be righteous.
This reason, more than any other, is why we shouldn’t have gone into  Iraq in the first place. A country where half the citizens harbor a bitter hatred for the other half is not the kind of place democracy works in. But, in the end, we did go in. We overthrew the power that, however abominable it was, kept the Sunni and Shi’a from killing each other. Now we’re the power there. The current government of Iraq lacks the strength to stop these two groups from butchering each other. For one thing, whatever military Iraq builds up for itself will be composed of Iraqi citizens, most who will be Muslims and that means Sunni or Shi’a. Some of these soldiers may be more dedicated to the government than their religion, and others will see past the hatred that’s been bred into them, but others won’t. That means within the entire Iraqi military structure there will be soldiers who will turn traitor to the current government to fight for the side of their faith. In the end what you have is a perfect situation for a genocidal civil war to erupt. Our soldiers are the only force keeping the lid on this storm.
Obama and Biden have promised to retain the right to reenter Iraq with our allies in the case of a genocidal situation. To my understanding of the situation, a genocidal situation is far more likely to happen than not. So, their promise to reenter if a genocidal situation occurs means that it’s almost certain they will have to reenter, making the pullout a pointless waste of lives. I suppose they could decide to just let the genocide happen and fail in their other promise, but I don’t believe Obama would let the genocide happen – it’s not in his character. In the end we’d be back in Iraq anyway.
Perhaps there is nothing to gain from an endless war, but we entered into Iraq and we have a responsibility to the citizens of that nation to finish what we started. If Obama is elected President, it is likely that far more Iraqi citizens will die. There are other reasons that I’m not voting for Obama, but this potential loss of life is a serious concern for me.