Bush, and now McCain/Palin have constantly beat the drum of "victory in Iraq." I have not yet seen the Bush criteria for victory. They seem to think that exporting a Western style democracy to that state will be the victory.
I am no expert in international affairs, but I do have experience with human interactions and criminal gangs. I have observed things I attribute to a tribal psychology to these groups. I may be wrong, but I did find some support in this web site. It relates to Somalia, another place America got involved in tribal issues and military engagement.
Generally, as long as a tribe exists there is a shared identity. Only the benefit of the tribe is important. The individual is not important, and other tribes and individuals are not important. To bring the tribe in line with some presumed higher purpose will require either constant violent shepherding or the destruction of the tribe.
If you have not yet read the article, please do so. It is not long, and expresses what I have intuitively held since we began our war in Iraq.
Iraq is not, by the nature of its population, a single national entity. It is an area on the face of the earth in which several tribes exist. We have accomplished what little has been accomplished entirely by force. Our strength is greater than their strength, especially since they will not readily unite even to drive us out.
They do, however, have patience. Their conflicts have gone on for many generations. They can wait until we eventually go away, and then return to the conflicts that have been their tradition. They know that we will eventually go away.
There is no victory in Iraq, unless we are willing to join one faction in genocide against the others. We will not do that, because it is contrary to the nature of our way of thinking.
It wasn't always. We nearly decimated the Native American populations. Again, by superiority in numbers and better technology. I have to wonder how the matter of westward expansion would have been handled by modern American politicians.
So, since we won't kill off the people living in the place called Iraq and claim the land as our own, we should just leave.
It will not be a defeat. For a defeat to exist there had to be the prospect of victory.
Since victory can easily be a matter of definition in a situation like this, we can draw a line somewhere that we have already crossed. That line will define our "victory." Let the Iraqi people evolve their own democracy when they are ready. Or not.
Then we can get the Hell out of there, and begin cleaning up the crap we have at home.
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