November 29, 2006
The Post-retreat Return to IraqBy Noel Sheppard
On November 27, 2006, the media stepped up their demands for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq by officially naming the incursion a civil war. While questioning their motives, Americans must also be extremely concerned with how quickly these same voices will demand our military be sent back in a humanitarian effort to halt the inevitable post-retreat genocide.
Amid all the seemingly principled antiwar discussions that have transpired the past several years, one issue has been shamelessly and immorally absent: if American troops leave Iraq too soon, one of the largest mass-murders of innocent people in history might ensue.
Regardless of whether or not we are responsible for laying the groundwork for such a dire outcome, it is incumbent upon this government to make decisions based upon present circumstances and not those we would prefer. While we debate solutions to the current condition, we must be fully cognizant of the possible end-result of all available options before jumping head first into what might be the abyss.
This seems even more rational given our unfortunate precedent with military retreats from an incursion that we started. After America pulled out of Vietnam in 1975, the Khmer Rouge mercilessly slaughtered an estimated 1.5 to 3 million largely innocent Vietnamese and Cambodians in the subsequent four years.
As an ominous frame of reference, the total population of Cambodia at that time was 7 million. The population of Iraq today is 25 million, meaning that far more casualties and atrocities are possible.
The cynical might question what reason there is to believe that a similar eventuality will occur in Iraq if we retreat leaving it in its current condition. The sane might wonder what leads us to believe it won't.
After all, history indicates that the Sunni-Shia conflict started around the year 632 AD after Muhammad died, or almost fourteen centuries ago. In Iraq, even though Shia are in the majority, Sunnis have largely been dominant in government for many decades. During this time, and especially under the rule of Saddam Hussein, Shia were subjugated to horrendous acts of tyranny and violence.
Around the world, Sunnis represent an estimated 80 percent of Muslims, with Shia only 15 percent. The media love to point out in their discussions on this issue that Iran is dominated by Shia. However, the other major powers in the region are largely Sunni, including Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and Turkey.
Furthermore, al Qaeda and the Taliban are Sunni; the former leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was said to have encouraged his followers to kill Shia exclusively due to their religious beliefs.
Add it all up, and a government-less Iraq without American troops might easily turn into an historic battle between Sunnis and Shia resulting in unimaginable casualties as the Sunni-nations in this region send in forces to try to prevent Shia-Iran from overrunning the entire country.
Another ominous indicator is the high unemployment in most of these nations, especially amongst those under the age of 30; in Iran, 50 percent of this demographic are without work. If it is easy in this region to recruit terrorists and homicide bombers, just imagine the simplicity both sides will have in calling soldiers to arms once any semblance of government or military is totally absent, and the real battle for control of Iraq begins.
If the "experts" in the media think this is a civil war now, what are they going to call it if their wish comes true, and American troops depart leaving behind a bloodbath of epic proportions broadcast on television sets across our nation 24/7?
Of course, the question still remains: Why should we stay if this situation is spinning out of control?
Conservatives believe the answer still lies in the connection to the overall war on terror, and that an anarchical Iraq, with its vast oil reserves, will become a wealthy safe haven for al Qaeda and its jihadists for decades to come.
However, liberals don't buy into this line of reasoning, and require an alternate caution to warrant staying the course so to speak. With that in mind, if we leave, the United Nations will likely step in at some point to quell the rising violence and resulting genocide. At that time, it will recommend an international peacekeeping force comprised largely of Americans who will now be under the auspice of the UN.
Is this what liberals want, or have even considered: To retreat, let the situation become significantly more dangerous and volatile, leaving the UN to send our soldiers back maybe a year or two later into a substantially worse environment with Kofi Annan's successor Ban Ki-moon calling the shots?
Whatever the answer, one has to question what happened to liberal humanitarian principles. Aren't a few American military lives per day worth saving hundreds of thousands nay millions of innocent Iraqi women and children that will likely die if we leave, especially if it's probable that we're going to have to go back anyway?
Regardless, it has become all too apparent that the media and the Democrats have had absolutely no clue what should be done in Iraq. They have unquestionably ignored the bloody downside of retreat, while irresponsibly inflaming the public's antiwar ire with the sole purpose of regaining power absent the vaguest idea what to do once they attained it.
Now, as the Democrat leadership appears to be predictably going back on their ludicrous campaign promise of capricious withdrawal, the media seem intent to fan the antiwar fires again to force another left-wing capitulation. With people like Keith Olbermann stirring up the liberal blogosphere suggesting that NBC's declaration of civil war represented another in a seemingly endless stream of Walter Cronkite moments, it is safe to assume the tom toms are going to be banged loudly by the Netroots who also haven't even vaguely considered an America-less Iraq.
What this means is that despite what comes out of the Baker Commission in the upcoming days, America must not listen to the media and the extreme left demanding a repeat of the Nixon administration's blunder. Millions of innocent Iraqis who thousands of our soldiers have already died for deserve significantly better.
Noel Sheppard is a frequent contributor to the American Thinker. He is also contributing editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org, and a contributing writer to its Business & Media Institute. Noel welcomes feedback.