Juan Cole, University of Michigan Middle East Expert, Comments on Kirstein H.N.N. Article on His Blog

Professor Juan Cole, the nation’s leading authority on the Middle East, and along with myself one of the Horowitz 101, was kind enough to link my H.N.N. article on his blog, Informed Comment, under April 3, 2006.

I admire this courageous, brilliant professor and am honoured that he consulted and commented on my article. One of his constructive criticisms of my demand for an immediate American withdrawal from the Iraq war was:

“Nor is it like Vietnam in the sense that its falling apart would have few international consequences. The neighbors could be drawn into a new regional war (a proxy war between Wahhabi Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran is possible).”

After Vietnam there was a new regional war or to be more precise several regional wars although admittedly not until three to four years after the 1975 liberation of Saigon: the Sino-Vietnam war which was precipitated by a Chinese incursion into northern Vietnam following Vietnam’s invasion of Kampuchea, and of course the 1978-1991 Vietnam’s “Vietnam quagmire” in Cambodia (Kampuchea). So the extrication of American forces did lead to continued strife but the former was short lived and the latter ended with U.N. supervision of Cambodia in 1991.

Also I am concerned about the health and safety of Iranian civilians. Mr Bush, who received fewer votes than Senator Gore in the 2000 presidential “election,” told Jim Lehrer on P.B.S. that part of the American rationale for being in Iraq was to spread democracy to Iran. This means of course using Iraq to invade the nation from the west. I think a U.S. departure from Iraq would reduce the capacity to attack Iran and destroy that nation as well. Remember, the U.S. is an imperial power without conscience or ethical values and any extrication from foreign soil, even if the results create more suffering for innocents, will in the long run enhance international peace and security.

Dr Cole is undoubtedly correct that American withdrawal could lead to external pressures on Iraq but the stain of dishonour, the butchering of Muslims, the use of white phosphorous, the torturing of innocents, the militarisation of America, the lust for blood and violence would at least be partially attenuated. This planet cannot afford to have the U.S. continuously at war. We are too violent and powerful. End the war, seek allied peacekeeping forces in the region, develop a U.N. presence but this nation must withdraw and withdraw now. I do believe that U.S. withdrawal would advance the cause of peace and justice, if for no other reason, it would demonstrate that the Israeli-American axis of colonisation from the West Bank to Basra can be defeated and reversed.

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