Ron Paul: Ignoring Reality in Iraq

I like Ron Paul even though he is (arghh!) Republican -- law

December 13, 2004

A recent study by the Pentagon’s Defense Science Task Force on Strategic Communications concluded that in the struggle for hearts and minds in Iraq, “American efforts have not only failed, they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended.” This Pentagon report flatly states that our war in Iraq actually has elevated support for radical Islamists. It goes on to conclude that our active intervention in the Middle East as a whole has greatly diminished our reputation in the region, and strengthened support for radical groups. This is similar to what the CIA predicted in an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, before the invasion took place.

Then, earlier this month we learned that the CIA station chief in Baghdad sent a cable back to the US warning that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating, and not expected to improve any time soon. Other CIA experts also warn that the security situation in Iraq is likely to get even worse in the future. These reports are utterly ignored by the administration.

These recent reports are not the product of some radical antiwar organization. They represent the US government’s own assessment of our “progress” in Iraq after two and a half years and the loss of thousands of lives. We are alienating the Islamic world in our oxymoronic quest to impose democracy in Iraq.

This demonstrates once again the folly of nation building, which is something candidate Bush wisely rejected before the 2000 election. The worsening situation in Iraq also reminds us that going to war without a congressional declaration, as the Constitution requires, leads us into protracted quagmires over and over again.

The reality is that current-day Iraq contains three distinct groups of people whom have been at odds with each other for generations. Pundits and politicians tell us that a civil war will erupt if the US military departs. Yet our insistence that Iraq remain one indivisible nation actually creates the conditions for civil war. Instead of an artificial, forced, nationalist unity between the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds, we should allow each group to seek self-government and choose voluntarily whether they wish to associate with a central government. We cannot impose democracy in Iraq any more than we can erase hundreds of years of Iraqi history.

Ignoring Reality in Iraq


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