"Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there." On March 20, 2003, Lieutenant Tim Collins gave this advice to his battle group, the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish at Fort Blair Mayne desert camp, 20 miles from the Iraqi border. Collins' words of advice to his troops could not be more correct—our involvement in Iraq should have been done with care, finesse and expertise. Instead, we refused to "tread lightly" and have tried to force our democratic ideals on a nation that continues to staunchly refuse them. In fact, the use of guerrilla warfare now by insurgents threatens to turn Iraq into another Vietnam.
Since its creation in 1921 by Britain, its colonial ruler, Iraq has been a cornucopia of different ethnic and racial groups. Carved out of various regions of Iran, Turkey and Kurdestan, Iraq is a nation whose borders spill into all surrounding directions. In the north, the ethnic Kurds spread into three different nations; Iraqi Shiites blend into nearby Khuzestan, a region of Persian Iran; and Bedouin Arabs mix into Saudi Arabia. Various other groups like ethnic Iranians, Armenians and Sunni Muslims also crowd into the country.
Since the early 1970s, civil unrest between the various groups has been common; but with the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime, ethnic strife has reached new heights. In cities like Daqouq, Kirkuk and Al-Ramadi, deadly clashes between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds occur daily in the form of car explosions, mosque bombings and armed civil clashes. According to BBC World News, militant internal violence has caused nearly 3,200 Iraqi deaths in the past year alone.
With vastly different ethnic groups fighting each other for dominance, the United States never had a chance to create peace. Engaged in a guerrilla war we can't win, Americans are consistently threatened by Iraqi insurgence, which has divided into four main groups: Sunni tribalists, former Saddam Hussein-regime loyalists, fighters loyal to anti-U.S. cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and foreign jihadists. Between these four groups, the only common link is their hatred of the United States, whom they view not as a "liberator" but as a foreign invader.
Our list of mounting casualties, skepticism about going to the war in the first place and lack of a clear plan for the future all point to the possibility that Iraq could become another Vietnam. Most worrisome, however, is the attitude of the Iraqi people. Their attempts to destabilize both the interim Iraqi government and the U.S. presence in their nation have grown more frequent and more lethal, causing over 1,000 American military casualties. In response, the U.S. military has reverted to the same strategy used during Vietnam: bombing operations. The Vietnam War was the largest air war in history, and although the situation in Iraq has not escalated yet to such a level, our repetitive bombings of cities such as Fallujah and Kabul can only point in that direction. Even the smart bombs that the U.S. currently uses can kill the innocent, and in fact, they have.
Each day we spend in Iraq as an invading, assaulting power lowers our stance in the eyes of the rest of the world, especially in those of the Iraqis themselves. How many innocent Iraqi civilians must we kill to "free" their nation? Instead of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, uniting them under a representative democracy and completing a true "mission accomplished," we are only engaging ourselves in a nation of fighting ethnic groups that cannot make peace with each other, let alone with us.
Until we realize the futility of our endeavors in a nation that does not want us there, we are merely adding to the very real possibility that our current situation in Iraq could quickly become as devastating as the Vietnam War was for us nearly 40 years ago.
Rocky Hadadi. So, Rocky Hadadi has a very small life. She likes Baz Luhrmann. She likes Rancid. She wants to have John Frusciante's lovechild of guitar solos. Her interests include: meaningful friendships with CAP girls, exceptional Magnet amigos, track suits, aquamarine, Chucks, velvet Docs, painting random crap … More »