the Disillusioned kid
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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

A brilliant article by Stephen Shalom deals with all the issues those of us opposed to the continuing US/UK occupation of Iraq should be concerned with: what should replace it?; what position should we take with regard to the "resistance"?; and what should we make of the June 30 "handover"?. His comments on the need for some international force during the transition to genuine sovereignty seem particularly incisive and express many of the things I have been trying to say for some time. Except better:
When the United States defeated the Iraqi armed forces in April 2003, law and order broke down leading to widespread looting (that the U.S. chose not to prevent). In subsequent months there were reports of widespread rapes and abuse of women and girls. This suggests that if U.S. troops withdrew, there would be serious security problems, even if there were no civil war. Of course, Iraqis are capable of providing their own security, but the institutions to allow them to do so in a non-partisan and professional manner do not yet exist. (The existing sectarian armed militias cannot be depended upon to disinterestedly protect the population.) In addition, although civil war is by no means inevitable, it is not beyond the realm of possibility. When the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan, the "international community" provided no security (or other) assistance, and the result was years of horrendous civil war, the human costs of which were so severe that many Afghans welcomed the stability ultimately enforced by the Taliban. Accordingly, some sort of international security presence is needed in Iraq during the transition before elections and the training of Iraqi police.

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