Monday, March 31, 2008

Zbigniew Brzezinski: The Smart Way Out Of Iraq

There is a way out of Iraq, and it doesn't have to take a hundred years or benefit al-Qaeda, writes Zbigniew Brzezinski in today's Washington Post. He was once national security advisor for President Carter, and is still a leading American policy expert. He is also an Obama supporter.

"The contrast between the Democratic argument for ending the war and the Republican argument for continuing is sharp and dramatic. The case for terminating the war is based on its prohibitive and tangible costs, while the case for 'staying the course' draws heavily on shadowy fears of the unknown and relies on worst-case scenarios. President Bush's and Sen. John McCain's forecasts of regional catastrophe are quite reminiscent of the predictions of 'falling dominoes' that were used to justify continued U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Neither has provided any real evidence that ending the war would mean disaster, but their fear-mongering makes prolonging it easier.

Nonetheless, if the American people had been asked more than five years ago whether Bush's obsession with the removal of Saddam Hussein was worth 4,000 American lives, almost 30,000 wounded Americans and several trillion dollars -- not to mention the less precisely measurable damage to the United States' world-wide credibility, legitimacy and moral standing -- the answer almost certainly would have been an unequivocal 'no.'

Nor do the costs of this fiasco end there. The war has inflamed anti-American passions in the Middle East and South Asia while fragmenting Iraqi society and increasing the influence of Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent visit to Baghdad offers ample testimony that even the U.S.-installed government in Iraq is becoming susceptible to Iranian blandishments.

In brief, the war has become a national tragedy, an economic catastrophe, a regional disaster and a global boomerang for the United States. Ending it is thus in the highest national interest."

"We started this war rashly, but we must end our involvement responsibly. And end it we must. The alternative is a fear-driven policy paralysis that perpetuates the war -- to America's historic detriment," Brzezinski concludes.

Read the entire article here: 
The Smart Way Out of a Foolish War

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