Saturday, June 17, 2006

Majority of Americans want Iraq pullout date set.

A recent CNN poll says that 53% of Americans want a pullout date set for within a year. (In other words, a clear majority of Americans now reside in the reality-based community.)

Never mind the reasons for starting that ill-conceived war. What have they actually accomplished? Okay, Saddam is now gardening and writing bad poetry between court appearances, so that's one thing to scratch of the to-do list. A government of sorts has been established -- but didn't they kind of have one of these before? For what it was worth, Saddam's Baathist party kept the electricity on, water running, and paycheques going out. Democratic elections -- rather than ballots that say "SADDAM: Yes/No", Iraqis now have a plethora of candidates representing different political parties. But I think in the long term, the US will find out that this is one of those "be careful what you wish for" situations. There are few if any secular parties, most of them being varying degrees of Islamist and dominated by Shi'ites with little participation from Sunnis, who make up 20% of the population. This is a recipe for all kinds of problems, ethnic cleansing and civil war chief among them. And then there's Iran.

Meanwhile, infrastructure completely totalled, water and gas shortages, electricity available only intermittently, and an insurgency that appears to be as robust as ever in spite of the demise of its leader. And lots of death and destruction. It's a fragile situation, and were the Americans to pull out of Iraq tomorrow, disaster would surely ensue. So whatever the reasons were that they went in, they're stuck there for the duration. They went in and wrecked that country, unfortunately they now need to stay until it's fixed. Which might take a lot longer than a year.