Monday, April 18, 2005

What's it good for?

This week, as usual, there were protests at UW Madison. The protestors were protesting the same thing which has been protested by, I assume, the same protestors on the same issue last week: the War in Iraq. Had I the inclination, and had I not the realization that slogans rarely coincide with objective discussion, I would like to have asked the protestors what they hoped to accomplish by protesting.

The War in Iraq is fait accompli. It cannot be undone. Nothing short of time machines could possibly undo it, and even time machines wouldn't help, since visits by time machines have already happened--they are already part of the past we know. So what then are they protesting? Bush wants out of Iraq more than anyone except the people getting shot at, surely more than students leading their comfy lives in Madison. What politician wouldn't want an end to that ceaseless political headache?

Now that we're there, however, we are stuck. To leave would be shameful. We replaced the misery of dictatorship with the misery of war. That war will continue if America leaves. It will continue because it is not unified under a single banner (other than "Yankee Go Home," which won't help once we're gone), nor does it have experienced political elements to establish a new government. If America leaves, who will fill the power vacuum? Without the experienced political elements, the competition for power will continue in its previous path, an insurgency--renamed civil war--only the guns will be aimed at fellow Iraqis. Thus, before we leave we must either have a unified force opposing us or an end to the insurgency and an established government. We need to leave behind a political structure to replace the one we destroyed.

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