Monday, April 24, 2006

The Sins of the Father

In 1991, an earlier President Bush publicly promised the Shi'ite population of Iraq, that if they rebelled against Saddam Hussein, that we would support and protect them. They believed us, and their militias arose and fought the Sunni Ba'ath regime creating confusion and consternation behind Iraqi lines while they were confronting the American forces advancing into Kuwait. That rebellion was a considerable military advantage to our forces. Having liberated Kuwait, the elder Bush, allegedly at the prompting of Secretary of Defense Colin Powell, somehow forgot his promise and declined to support the Shi'ite militias with the promised airpower and heavy arms. Whereupon the Republican Guard marched almost unopposed into the momentarily Shi'ite controlled areas and massacred more than 20,000 people, substantially everyone who had relied on American promises and participated in the Shi'ite militias. With mind-boggling hypocrisy and effrontery the United States is now sponsoring the trial of Saddam Hussein for carrying out the very murders from which we had promised to protect the Shi'ites.

It is the proposition of those critical of American and British military efforts in Iraq, that we ought to withdraw our troops and abandon the Shi'ites to the mercies of the Sunnis yet again. And they propose this from a position of purportedly superior moral rectitude. Whether or not one thinks highly of George W. Bush, to the extent that he is conducting this war to rectify a monstrous wrong perpetrated by his father, he is a man struggling to do the right thing. He has more or less sacrificed his one chance at being anyone of consequence in the world, his having stumbled into the American presidency, to the task.

We owe it to the Iraqi people to make good on the promises Bush Senior made to them - safety from Sunni-Ba'ath violence and domination. If that means that Iraq will be transformed into a loose confederation like Switzerland or Canada, so be it - there are worse fates.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:49 PM

    The history of this mess is true as you state it but does George W. Bush have the right to rectify his father's goof with the lives of innocent American sons and daughters? Every U.S. president has an obligation to avoid risking American lives unless there is a direct and imminent threat to America itself.

    So, what's up with the writer's group?