Like many of you, I've been glued to the news from Iraq. As I read headlines of unspeakable crimes and sectarian violence, I notice there's something missing: the voices of Iraqi women. As with most conflicts, rape is used as a weapon of war. Iraq is no exception.
We had no business going to Iraq in the first place anyway, but we did and broke it. Therefore, we have a responsibility to make the best of the worst situation which is to get all of its neighbors and Iraqi factions under the U.N. umbrella together to divide the country in a peaceful manner.
In a rare occasion, the United States and the Islamic Republic have become two odd bedfellows. The reason is that both Tehran and Washington share one common goal to serve their own national interests: a stable Iraq and keeping the oil to flow.
In 2005, while Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Bill Kristol were sitting at desks in Washington, my unit was fighting their war in Iraq. They were playing armchair general. We were kicking in doors, getting shot at and driving on IED-planted roads in unarmored vehicles designed for amphibious assaults.
Today, the Iraq civil war is increasingly becoming a conflict between those who believe that there is --or must be -- a nation called Iraq, and those who view Iraq as a transient historical phenomenon with no inherent identity or purpose.
Before we start sending off troops to bring all the wonderful things we love about America to the rest of the world, maybe we should tend to our own affairs first. Let's take the log out of our own eye before we talk about the speck in the eye of other countries.
Even if the advisers do not accompany Iraqi forces into the field, their mere presence in Iraq in U.S. uniforms under the present situation makes them targets for attack. Why else are they arriving armed and ready to defend themselves?
In another generation, when a future U.S. president sends troops to occupy some intransigent country on a dubious objective, American pundits will most likely ask this familiar question made new: "Will it be another Iraq?"
After a decade of war, people are weary and suspicious of any further involvement abroad. They want an answer to the fundamental question of how this serves their interests. What do we intend to accomplish? How do we plan to accomplish it? And what is our exit strategy?
Many American Iraq war veterans must be disappointed; after all, they didn't risk their lives for all those years so that the country they believed they were helping liberate can fall into the hands of extremists.
Indian Strategist Prof. M D Nalapat, UNESCO Peace Chair and Editorial Director of the Sunday Guardian, has an unusually spot-on record for predicting trends in the Middle East. This is what he has to say about Iraq.
American intervention has broken pottery all over the Middle East. Every time the U.S. attempts to repair its last accident, it increases and spreads the mess. It is time for a different approach. One in which Washington does not attempt to micromanage the affairs of other nations. In which Washington practices humility. This would not be isolationism. America, and especially Americans, should be engaged in the world. Economic and cultural ties benefit all. Political cooperation can help meet global problems. Humanitarian needs are varied and manifold. Military action sometimes is necessary, but only rarely -- certainly far less often than presumed by Washington.
The United States should use the 300 soldiers who are on their way to Iraq to stiffen its allies spines and to generate collective action to fight the forces of evil now set loose in the Middle East. America can help with this endeavor, but the heavy lifting must be the responsibility of America's Middle East Allies.
We are clearly in the early stages of the intervention sweepstakes. The initial moves may even be greeted as auspicious, but watch out for the long-run destabilizing effects in an already chaotic region. Washington only imagines it can control such combustible situations.
The insurgents are not only in a struggle against what they see as oppression by a largely Shiite government in Baghdad and its security forces, but also over who will control and benefit from what Maliki -- speaking for most of his constituents -- told the Wall Street Journal is Iraq's "national patrimony."