Cultural Revolutions

The New Middle East

On March 20, President George W. Bush marked the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war by stating that the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power was and always will be the right one.  His view is not that of the majority of Americans, who are citing the high costs in American lives and treasure and want to see the U.S. military start pulling its troops out of Mesopotamia.

While admitting that the Bush administration’s original justifications for going to war—Iraq, they alleged, possessed “weapons of mass destruction” and had operational links to Al Qaeda—have been repeatedly debunked or discredited, opponents of a troop withdrawal warn that such a move will not only play into the hands of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups but will create the conditions for a bloody civil war (involving the Arab Shiites, the Arab Sunnis, and the Kurds), which would draw in other Middle Eastern players (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan), igniting a major regional conflict.  Instead, the stay-the-course proponents insist that U.S. forces should stay in Iraq until the country achieves some sense of political stability and internal security.  That process, according to presumptive GOP presidential candidate John McCain, could take more than a century.

Critics of the war, including the two leading Democratic presidential candidates, counter that it was the ousting of Saddam Hussein...

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