another view on iraq

this is one opinion that won’t get as much coverage as john murtha’s statements to the press. senator joe lieberman just returned from iraq, and he has a slightly different perspective on how things are going over there than murtha does.

sen. joe leiberman on iraq:

None of these remarkable changes would have happened without the coalition forces led by the U.S. And, I am convinced, almost all of the progress in Iraq and throughout the Middle East will be lost if those forces are withdrawn faster than the Iraqi military is capable of securing the country. The leaders of Iraq’s duly elected government understand this, and they asked me for reassurance about America’s commitment. The question is whether the American people and enough of their representatives in Congress from both parties understand this. I am disappointed by Democrats who are more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq almost three years ago, and by Republicans who are more worried about whether the war will bring them down in next November’s elections, than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead.

that’s how we can lose our political will to stay until iraq is stabilized. both republicans and democrats see the writing on the wall and obsess over the polls, which is why you won’t see many in washington (outside of the bush administration) echoing what lieberman says here.

Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis for Iraqi universities show increasing optimism. Two-thirds say they are better off than they were under Saddam, and a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America’s bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.

i agree with senator leiberman. he goes on to admit that mistakes were made initially, but says that we are making changes to correct some of those mistakes.

The economic reconstruction of Iraq has gone slower than it should have, and too much money has been wasted or stolen. Ambassador Khalilzad is now implementing reform that has worked in Afghanistan–Provincial Reconstruction Teams, composed of American economic and political experts, working in partnership in each of Iraq’s 18 provinces with its elected leadership, civil service and the private sector. That is the “build” part of the “clear, hold and build” strategy, and so is the work American and international teams are doing to professionalize national and provincial governmental agencies in Iraq.

These are new ideas that are working and changing the reality on the ground, which is undoubtedly why the Iraqi people are optimistic about their future–and why the American people should be, too.

this is good news. we should listen to both sides of the argument and decide for ourselves which strategy makes more sense, keeping in mind the motivations of each side for their position on iraq. i have been critical of senator leiberman in the past for disguising his views while he was al gore’s VP pick, but he has been a strong supporter of the war in iraq from the very beginning, and he has always been consistent on this issue.
former U.S. secretary of state henry kissinger weighs in (courtesy:

“I think to look at withdrawal from Iraq … could lead to disaster,” said Kissinger, who served as the top US diplomat in the administrations of presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

“We have to keep in mind what our objective should be, and if we leave Iraq under conditions at the end of which there will be a radical government in Baghdad, or part of the country becomes a haven for terrorism, it will have turned into a disaster that will affect the whole world,” Kissinger said in an interview with CNN television.

i will give the last word on this to iraq the model.

on the upcoming elections:

On the other hand, a war of words and speeches is growing among the different parties and candidates and two points issues to be taking more attention here, these are corruption accusations and the recurrence of former Ba’ath members in some lists.

Some candidates, namely Laith Kubba pointed out that he has political bombs regarding the above issues that will be revealed soon. Kubba who leads his own list has also challenged Ahmed Chalabi for an electoral debate.

However, people in the street think that candidates should focus more on their political platforms rather than on exchanging accusations and allegations.

the iraqis get it. i wish american politicians would figure this out.

from the post: The way to the parliament: fighting with posters and sometimes bullets.

I never had doubts in the hidden intentions of those in Iraq who keep saying that multinational troops must leave Iraq soon; they say their demands are essential for national sovereignty coming out of their patriotic feelings for Iraq while I see them as far as they could be from patriotism.

If those people put Iraq’s and Iraqis’ interests first, they wouldn’?t have asked the US to leave Iraq while the troops missions are yet to be accomplished and the Iraqi national forces are still not capable of protecting the country and the citizens.

We all know why some insist that US must leave or keep calling the presence of these troops an occupation. The problem is that the ordinary citizen here cannot talk about this in public for fear of being labeled as an agent or collaborator with the occupation and what can an unarmed citizen do to face such an accusation coming from this or that militia.

What pushes these politicians and militias to take this attitude is their dream of regaining sovereignty but not national sovereignty; it is their sovereignty over Iraq.

What is keeping these liars from making a large scale coup over the democratic change is the presence of coalition troops that are protecting the new Iraq.

Our newfound democracy is suffering a lot from the evil of neighboring dictatorships and the legacy of Saddam’s dictatorship and I see the only guarantee to the growth of our democracy until its institutions are firm enough and well established lies in the presence of coalition troops for a longer time. This requires not only the preparation of Iraqi security forces but goes beyond that to protecting the democracy until it passes the danger zone.

whether we like it or not, we will have to stay in iraq until the country is stabilized. we owe it to the iraqis who have risked their lives to vote in the elections (and to vote for the constitution) to see this through. we owe it to our soldiers who died to give iraq this new hope for a better future. at this point, we need to stop fighting about WMDs and playing political games. there’s more at stake than the political fortunes of the DC elite. what we are talking about is the future of iraq, and both sides need to stop playing games with that future.