"My visit left me even more deeply convinced that we not ony have a moral obligation to help displaced Iraqi families, but also a serious, long-term, national security interest in ending this crisis. Today's humanitarian crisis in Iraq--and the potential consequences for our national security--are great. Can the United States afford to gamble that 4 million or more poor and displaced people, in the heart of Middle East, won't explode in violent desperation, sending the whole region into further disorder?..."
Angelina Jolie wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post and spoke as a goodwill ambassador on the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees upon her return of a recent trip to Iraq. She met with local leaders and with General Petreaus. She spoke with American and Iraqi military. Now, normally Jolie is not my go-to person for insight into the country of Iraq. But, when the far left in Hollywood speaks with common sense and thoughtfullness, I think the person should receive credit for the statements.
What those demanding immediate withdrawal of the troops in Iraq don't understand are the conditions on the ground for the ordinary Iraqi. Those who inflate the number of civilian casualities, in order to bash our own military as some kind of murdering thugs, should be concerned with what will happen to these civilians should the U.S. presence in Iraq diminish too quickly. Those that don't understand that Iraq was chosen as the most likely site for hope of some form of democracy and freedom due to the fact that it was not ruled by a religious leader, but by a common, sociopath type of dictator with an educated population still fail to consider the country's people. All it takes is for a traveler to talk to ordinary people, to put a face on the people living in Iraq and coping with the unrest daily, to feel a sense of responsibility to leave wisely. This is not Clinton's Somolia. This is not Carter's Iran. This is not Bush the elder's Kuwait. We cannot just up and leave on the whim of the unserious. The Bush deranged do not get it and have no intellectual desire to understand anything other their own political agenda. They crave another president, as Obama promises to be, that will again carve up the American military and allow another shutdown of military innovations and equipment as the Clintons did under the disguise of 'a peace dividend'. As 9/11 happened, and the time it is still taking to recover from that neglect, the military goes on doing what our country demands of them.
As I have mentioned before, putting a face on the people of Iraq is so important in pondering about the country's future. I, too, didn't want the invasion to happen initially. I thought a well aimed bullet would do the job, but that's just me. As I have also mentioned before, my husband was in Iraq in 2002-2003 prior to the beginning of the war and met many collegues with whom he is still in communication. Some have been here and he has taught classes for them to stay current on the oil drilling industry in their field and he has hosted them as friends, doing the usual tourist activities. They are real people, with the same love of country and family. Most have been Muslim but one in particular who took my husband into his home and treated him like a long time friend was a Christian Iraqi. Cutting and running at this point, after all the struggles and now successes at stake is not an option.
The American soldier deserves better. The Iraqi people deserve better, too.