Monday, August 06, 2007

"Humanitarian Crisis" Not A Good Excuse For Continued Occupation

One of the latest tactics of the "stay forever" crowd is to argue that withdrawal will lead to a humanitarian crisis. Thus, they argue, progressives who advocate confronting humanitarian crises around the world - the Darfur, for instance - are hypocritical for wanting to leave Iraq with a pending humanitarian crisis.

There are a number of problems with this argument. First, it ignores that there is already a massive humanitarian crisis taking place in Iraq. The continuing occupation is not alleviating it but, in fact, is perpetuating it. We need look no further than today's headlines for a story as to how our military cannot account for some 190,000 rifles and pistols that have been brought into Iraq. These weapons were dispersed under General Petraeus' watch while he was in charge of training Iraqi security forces. These undoubtedly are being used to kill people. Likewise, we should remember how the ammo dumps were left unprotected - Al Qa Qa being the most memorable - in the immediate aftermath of the initial invaision in 2003. Likewise, our support of a human rights abusing government has been tragic. And let's not forget the fact that, due to the chaos created by the invaision and occupation, human rights aid groups cannot operate in Iraq right now. So, in my opinion, it is an errant assumption to believe the Bush administration is competent to confront a humanitarian crisis and, indeed, will continue to exaccerbate the existing one. Simply, the best approach toward the humanitarian crisis isn't staying the course with Bush.

Second, the conservatives are disingenuous in conflating support for a continued occupation as the only legitimate response to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. Progressives did not push for or support a full-scale invaision and occupation of Bosnia or Kosovo to alleviate those crises. Nor was one needed when Bush belatedly acted in Liberia. Likewise, in the Darfur, progressives are pushing for a real peace keeping force for that specific region (not all of Sudan) and increased diplomatice efforts with consequential threats on the national government; not an overthrow of the government in Khartoum.

Third, ending the occupation does not mean turning a blind eye to the human rights crisis that exists today and will continue for sometime - regardless of the US's continued occupation. Mark my words. It will be the progressives who will continue to fight for spending on pragmatic, humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Once the occupation ends, it will be the conservatives who abandon the Iraqis.

I don't believe conservatives are being intellectually honest in voicing concerns about a pending humanitarian crisis. It is just another part of their "say anything" strategy that allows them to continue in their self-denial that "victory is just around the corner" and deviating from the course will be the only thing that can cause us to lose.


  • Well done Macswain. I heard that they only have electricty for two hours a day over there now too, although I haven't verified it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:36 PM  

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