Democracy Is Our True Victory

christopher.m.hachfeld@lawrence.edu

Creating Democracy In Iraq Will Be Our True Victory
By: Chris HachfeldSeveral previous letters have been written to the Lawrentian regarding the “victory” of U.S. forces in Iraq. However, this military victory over tyranny will not remain a success if the U.S. does not handle the nation-building that is to come with care.
As the U.S. government leads us into the process of nation-building in Iraq, it would do well to learn from its mistakes in Afghanistan. As quickly as we liberated Afghanistan, we seem to have also abandoned it. While the drums of war rolled in Iraq, President Hamid Karzai struggled to exercise control over a nation torn by factions. If the U.S. is not careful, similar divisions may plunge Iraq and the Middle East into chaos.
While Iraq may not be full of armed warlords, there are dozens of powerful tribes, religious organizations and ethnic groups, as well as exiles who wish to gain influence or control over the new government. As one obvious example, the Kurds want independence in the north, but our allies in Turkey are willing fight to prevent it. The Kurds (abandonded by the U.S. government after the 1st Gulf War) are also ready to battle for the piece of Iraq they feel they’ve earned while doing the majority of our fighting on the northern front.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government can’t decide who to support as the new leader of the Iraq. The Pentagon (and the war hawks) want exiled leader Ahmed Chalabi, but the State Department (led by peace-seeking Colin Powell) think he is devisive. The Bush administration wants to give control to an Iraqi government in 90 days so that U.S. troops so not become an occupation force. Have we forgotten our failures in Afghanistan already?
Military victory does not justify our means, a successful implementation of democracy does. President Bush promised the Iraqi people that we would assist them in building a democracy. The U.S. must tread carefully. Otherwise it is President Bush (not those who opposed him) who needs to apologize, not for his military solution, but for his failures in building democracy.

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