Abort Mission!

The United States should withdraw its troops from Iraq immediately. If I would have said this a year ago, most people would probably have scoffed at me and then rubbed it in my face the George Bush had won the election... but times have changed. Congressman John Murtha recently gave a speech on the House floor calling for the military to leave Iraq; Dick Cheney was not happy. A year ago the Vice President would have been able to throw out the classic line and accuse Murtha of trying to undermine the troops and democracy effort, but that doesn't work quite as well anymore. Now that we're beyond the phase where we blindly support "freedom" and the troops, we can finally start to think about this war and where it is going. John Murtha has a few compelling reasons for leaving Iraq, and logically he's just correct.

Most warmongers justify continued presence in Iraq by arguing that once the US leaves, civil war will erupt. They're probably right. Unfortunately, the civil war is inevitable, whether or not we leave now or in a few years (when the military simply can take no more). Murtha is a veteran who sincerely cares about our military, which is exactly why he wants to leave Iraq now. Staying the course, as some would say is necessary, will do nothing more than destroy our military. Look at the military as it is right now... recruitment is up and enlistment is down; the longer the war goes on, the more recruitment will increase and enlistment will decline. Not only that, our current military units are on their second and third tours of duty, and some experts are predicting a morale collapse similar to what happened during Vietnam. A marine officer was recently quoted in the Atlantic Monthly saying that "we can lose Iraq and destroy our Army, or we can just lose." Its time to face the reality that winning this war wasn't quite as easy as George Bush may have led you to believe.

American presence in Iraq is also bad because it perpetuates the problems we are ultimately trying to solve. Consider our moral credibility... George Bush can talk about giving people in Iraq rights they never had under Saddam Hussein, but when Bush talks about human rights, the world thinks about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. Here is a reality check: the torture at Abu Ghraib did significantly more to fuel insurgency than it did to get vital information to fight terrorists. George Bush can talk about freedom, but the world thinks about how Iraq has already become a theocracy and ruled by a powerful few and their militias. Additionally, the very perception of a foreign occupier is enough to give insurgents incentive to do what they do.

George Bush rarely speaks about the war anymore... but when he does he usually talks about staying the course and finishing the job. Nobody has any idea what that means. John Murtha talked about the continued deaths of Americans and Iraqis, shoddy military recruiting, increase of insurgent attacks, lack of clean water, among other problems. What is the justification for staying in Iraq? Most don't even remember why we justified pre-empting Saddam in the first place. Unless we can justify busting up the military or taking more drastic measures (like conscription and tax hikes), we're infinitely better off aborting the mission and bringing the troops home.