Jim Haldeman on the American Commitment to Iraq
In a letter to the editor in the South County Independent, Jim Haldeman, former commander of civil military operations in Fallujah, Iraq, questions the wisdom of basing American foreign policy on the premise that anything difficult to fix is not worth fixing…
[We] are a nation known for our want of instant gratification. We are the NOW generation. The majority of Iraqi citizens are beginning to live in their country as they have never lived before. They have more food, water and electricity than they have ever had in the history of their country. In November 2006, the Coalition Forces gave Fallujah back to the citizens. It’s theirs to govern, and theirs to maintain its security and safety. The new Iraqi government has also done a decent job focusing on their infrastructure and decentralizing their government.Read the whole thing.
Of course, there are significant problems. We used the 2005 free elections of their referendum and for their parliament as a thermometer to measure their given freedom, thinking that they would instantly respond to the first taste of freedom. Meaningless, I say! Freedom and democracy must be earned just as we have earned it here in the United States. Democracy and freedom can’t be measured based just on two days of going to a voting booth. They have not come to terms with what is needed to gain momentum and compete in this complex world. However, because their issues are so complex, many will not be corrected without the United States to be their crutch. Consistently, the Iraqi leadership with whom I worked would say to me, “We want you to leave but just not yet”.
Imagine the state of our country, and of our future generations after us, if we were to cut and run from this war. We must look at this war as our ultimate challenge to survival. The elusive posture of the maniacal Islamic radicals is to destroy our western civilization as we know it today. It is their long-term plan and their goal to see us retreat. In pursuit of this goal, they will kick us in the shins until we will eventually bleed to death. They are very patient.
Today’s citizenry may not see it, but there will be a time when, generations from now, their wrath will be felt if we do not continue to hammer home the fact that we will not quit. I applaud the president for his foresight and his vision of what could be. Let us not look at this war short term. Instead, we must accept the fact that we are in this for the long haul, whether it be in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere. We are not just trying to keep a small country afloat to serve as democratic competition in the Middle East, but we are working to ensure the safety and security of our country, and the entire free world, for that matter.