About two weeks before the United States invaded Iraq I was visiting some Kuwaiti friends who had an ill relative at the Mayo Clinic. In the visitor lounge the television was blaring about the potential invasion of Iraq by the United States. My Kuwaiti friends looked at me and said, “You guys don’t want to go into Iraq. The Iraqi’s are not worth it; they are a miserable untrustworthy lot and you are crazy to get involved with them.”
They went on to say, “When you liberated Kuwait from the invasion by the Iraqi’s, we were grateful. No American soldier was ever harmed on Kuwaiti soil, but those Iraqi’s will be trouble.” Not knowing much about Iraqis I politely nodded in agreement, but I remember thinking that it wouldn’t be unusual for Kuwaitis to be upset with a country that had just invaded them.
Now, four years later, the words of my Kuwaiti friends appear sadly prophetic. There can be no question that the United States made many serious mistakes in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Saddam Hussein’s regime deserved to be overthrown and the Iraqi’s have had free elections, but there has been little real progress or initiative on the part of the Iraqi people or their leaders to secure, solidify, or even appreciate their American-given freedoms. In fact, it appears that the only one who really knew how to control this nation of madmen was the supreme madman himself, Saddam Hussein! As horrible as he was, you’ve got to give the man credit; he knew how to run Iraq. Only coercion, fear, and an iron fist will work in Iraq. Happily and sadly, the United States didn’t have the stomach for such measures.
It is time for the United States to pull out of Iraq in a deliberate but steady fashion. Once we’re gone, let the Shiites and Sunnis kill each other until they get sick of it. It isn’t our problem and despite what liberal U.S. politicians say, it isn’t our fault. We tried, spilled our blood and spent our treasure in this place called Iraq. The government and citizens of Iraq failed to seize the opportunities given them and the blame rests squarely on their shoulders. Sometime, at some point, the people of every country must suffer or prosper as a result of the practices of their leaders. If the leaders of that nation lead their innocent citizens into the hell of hate and violence, so be it. That “sometime” has come and gone for Iraq.
We have lost over three thousand brave American soldiers in this effort, with many more injured and maimed. Had this suffering produced some permanent improvement in Iraq, those losses would be more acceptable. We have cast our pearls before swine too long. The United States is a noble, good place. We are not perfect, but we have given with honorable intentions our literal blood to the Iraqi people while they have mocked us. No Iraqis should be able to come to the United States as refugees. They should remain in their own country to work out their own problems. Unfortunately, as my Kuwaiti friends told me over four years ago, it appears that the Iraqi’s aren’t worth saving.