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Don’t Get Optimistic About Ending The War

July 29, 2007

(note – this appeared in today’s Rocky Mountain News. On Sundays, the Rocky has a two page spread in Denver Post, in the `Perspective’ section. The original op ed appears on this blog on the July 18 issue).

By Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni And Rob Prince
July 29, 2007

It is unlikely, despite a substantial majority of Americans now opposing the war in Iraq, that the United States will soon be ending its occupation and leaving the country.

Remember the euphoric atmosphere that prevailed after it became clear that the Democrats had won control of both houses? The election results combined with the release of the Baker-Hamilton Report suggested that the United States might change course in Iraq. There were high hopes among many that the war in Iraq might soon end. Did people expect a miraculous transformation or some kind of political epiphany?

Call it cynicism or realism, but we were not particularly surprised that the situation in Iraq has only worsened since.

Our assessment then was that the United States had accomplished its goals in Iraq and was unlikely to make any fundamental changes.

While the Democrats did not start the war in Iraq, they went along with virtually every move toward war. Weren’t most Democrats involved, along with Republicans, in authorizing this unjust and illegal occupation of Iraq? Weren’t they a key part of a Congress that didn’t challenge the Bush administration’s bogus claims of evidence?

At the same time Democrats and Republicans throw harmless barbs at each other, 14 major U.S. military bases are being built in Iraq, four of which compare to medium-sized American cities. The United States might pull back some from Iraqi cities, but these bases, first called “enduring” to avoid the more apt term “permanent,” are not coming down anytime soon.

The superficial attempt earlier this year to force this administration to think of an exit strategy was to appear to be doing something, in other words, a public relations exercise. The Democratic Party is going through a crisis, a crisis of electability.

How to become electable has become the only goal for the Democrats, not as a means to serve the people but as an end in itself. This crisis has paralyzed the Democratic members of the House into doing nothing concrete at all to change the current American foreign policy and to remedy its ongoing tragic and violent consequences.

In the absence of a miracle and in the line of the current paralysis that has taken over the Democrats, what can we do to end the violence and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and to prevent another one being started? It is highly unlikely that the upcoming Democratic convention in Denver will change this situation. Miracles don’t happen often in Denver.

The U.S. military is in Iraq to stay. Is there a reason for optimism? We do not believe so.

Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni is an imam for the Muslim community in Denver. Rob Prince teaches international studies at the University of Denver.

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