Friday, July 20, 2007
Iraq - Quit or Stay

This Iraqi woman lost her grown son to sectarian violence, and now helps raise his children.

The streets of Iraq are filled with anxiety and war weariness -- much of it hinging around the question of whether U.S. troops should stay or go. Some say the sooner they get out, the better. Others say the soldiers are needed to prevent a sectarian bloodbath.

"If they leave today, the militias will take control of the country. Neither the American soldiers or the Iraqi Army or the police can protect us," Mongeb Alnaieb told CNN from his modest apartment in central Baghdad.

Alnaieb represents a unique perspective here. He is Sunni; his wife is Shiite. Both agree the U.S. military should stay in Iraq to fix the chaos they say the American occupation has created.

They have three sons and say they do not feel comfortable letting them walk in Shiite neighborhoods anymore. One of their sons had a typically Sunni first name, so he changed it to the less distinctive "Ahmed" -- a way of making sure that his ID card will not give him away if he is stopped by militias.

With debate raging in Washington and across America about an exit strategy for U.S. troops, it remains a hot topic of discussion on the streets of Iraq -- where the effects of a pullout would be most felt.

Most people who spoke to CNN said they follow U.S. political news closely. They say what happens in America and what is decided with regards to the war in their country will have a direct impact on their lives.

There is no shortage of people who say the American troops should leave, and leave now.

"They came and destroyed the country, nothing less nothing more. It was them who started this sectarianism in the country," said a man in a majority Shiite neighborhood.

He would not give his name. Many other Iraqis who spoke with CNN agreed that the continued American troop presence is hurting their country.

"It is true when they first came, they got rid of the former regime, the Baathists. They got rid of them, but they didn't provide us with security and stability in Iraq. They destroyed the Iraqi economy, they destroyed Iraq," another man said.

Iraq's leaders are feeling the heat too. Facing increasing pressure from the United States to do more internally, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Saturday shot back at his naysayers, defending his government and the progress made by Iraqi security forces.

"We will be able to, God willing, completely take the full responsibility of the security situation when the international forces pull out -- anytime they want," he said.

The White House last week reported mixed progress on al-Maliki's government to meet 18 U.S.-set benchmarks. The U.S. House later voted to require a troop withdrawal from Iraq by April 2008.

Another progress report is also due in September from Gen. David Petreaus, the top American commander in Iraq.

Hussain Fallouji, a Sunni member of the Iraqi parliament, told CNN the idea that the Iraqi government can meet the benchmarks in three months "is a mere illusion." He also blasted al-Maliki.

"Maliki cares so much about pleasing Bush, but he doesn't care one bit about his own parliament," he said.

Back at the apartment complex in central Baghdad lives Munthar Nader, a Shiite. He used to be a cab driver, but says he was shot while driving on the dangerous road between Baghdad and Mosul. His car was stolen after the attack and he is now unemployed.

Nader's brother was murdered last year in a sectarian killing. He says his brother was on his way to work one morning and never returned. Nader identified his brother's body at the city morgue the next day.

Despite the violence his family has suffered, he says the Americans should stay in Iraq.

"If I do not see U.S. forces in front of me, I feel scared. Honestly, I feel scared,” he says. “The terrorists [are] afraid of U.S. forces along with Iraqi forces, so I prefer for them to stay.”

Nader is now taking care of his brother's two children. His mother also lives with him. Whether the U.S. military stays or goes matters little to her now.

"The dearest person to me was killed and he was my son. Now I do not care about anything. His children became orphans," she says, her eyes watering.

Above the television set in the Nader household, there is a picture of a dead son -- and the hopeless realization that no political benchmark or military strategy will ever bring him back.

Watch my report

-- From Hala Gorani, CNN International Anchor, in Baghdad.
The US never should have been in Iraq in the first place. I'm still waiting for the bush team to address the issue of Weapons of mass Destruction which is the ONLY reason the US went into iraq.

So where are they?
No need for American soldiers to remain in Iraq.Now is the time to leave Iraq .Let the Iraqi military and its people to manage their own country.
American Occupants are exploiting the situation and wants to remain in Iraq for their materialistic benefits.They dont care for humans and value of Human life is nothing for them.Their politicians dont even care about their own soldiers and in the fake name of humanity they killed thousands of their own army.
Americans came to Iraq to get rid of Saddam and WMD , now nothing is there, so leave their country adn dont bother about the world.
You are not the contractor to bring peace to the world.It is GOD who is responsible.
Leave invading,punishing and putting sanctions on other countries and mind your own business.
Leave Iraq for Humanity.
The longer Americans stay in Iraq the worse will be the fate of Irqis and american government.USA is only bothered about their interests and not about the Iraqis, when discussing the withdrawal plans.They have already caused six million civilian deaths by their continued presence.They have entered Iraq without knowing the internal equations between tribes and are now unable to avoid civil war conditions. Only a person like Saddam could manage the contradictions of this country. Now Americans have caused the deaths of more persons in four years than caused during the regime of the so called dictator Saddam in 20 years. Americans lack a historical sense and will never learn from experiences like Vietnam, where they lost to a seemingly weaker opponent.Their fate will be same in Iraq.America will lose whether they stay or leave.They are doomed.
Our arrogance is fueling the opposition and this applies to all the various forms of anti Americanism we are seeing now.
In Iraq, our military, and I know life is not fair, is fighting and dying in a losing cause. But to me that is not sad. Arrogance deserves to be defeated, and frankly our arrogance is a very DEEP arrogance permeating all levels of society. I have a severe illness and may not see the end, but the outcome in Iraq was determined by ourselves
Regardless of why we are there, we are still there. We have to clean up this mess or it WILL be like vietnam to the Iraqis. Placing blame on the past is futile and not constructive for the future. Bush was looking at the same intelligence as Hillary and they were all on the same side at the time. It is time to look to the future as to what can be done. Oh and since when have 6 million iraqi's died? I think you have the wrong war. If you are going to spit out numbers please verify first.
Say Germany invaded America, took out President Bush, and destabilized my country. Then I lost my job, resources become scarce, and everyone is living in constant fear. A German journalist asks me do you want us to leave. I would say "yes right now". But they are assuming we will not help them because we haven't for the last 5 years. If I thought the Germans would actually help get the economy and political stability back in line, I would say "stay and please fix what you have broken".
We must remain in Iraq and the middle east. It is a must for all humanity. We need support from other nations. This is a WORLDWIDE problem....or as i like to call it epidemic. This is not a war anymore it is about survival and i am glad someone in power has made that difficult choice to combat hatred and evil. The road will be long and hard but it is worth the struggle.
Comment to Bob's post. You obviously have a chip on your shoulder for some reasons I don't know. Do not, however say that our troops that are dying "deserve" it because of our country's arrogance. It doesn't make you sad to see all the bloodshed of both Americans and Iraqi's. I take that pretty personal because I lost a couple friends, including one real close one, and the thing is, he totally believed in what he was doing. That is something you can never take away from him. And if I do a tour there, I will believe in what I am doing and do my best, whether I agree or not. Your post was pretty much a slap in the face to anyone who wears the uniform. We swore to defend, not to ask quesetions and play politics. The politicians are the ones who need to figure out how to cleant this up. Until then I believe we need to stand strong and try to move forward.
I would like to add to my earlier comment...our arrogance is so extreme that the fact that extreme torture (the drilling of live victims' skulls, for example) and suicidal attacks are almost everyday occcurances and are ignored by Americans...Iraq is lost. It was lost with the FIRST skull drilling.
I would like to add to my earlier comment...our arrogance is so extreme that the fact that extreme torture (the drilling of live victims' skulls, for example) and suicidal attacks are almost everyday occcurances and are ignored by Americans...Iraq is lost. It was lost with the FIRST skull drilling.
Once again Bob, How do you call yourself an American. Wait, this war is all our troops fault right? basically your comments and posts are saying that and I take deep resentment to that. Troops have a specific job to do and are trained to follow orders. The mistakes of a couple "bad eggs" does not represent our entire military and thus, should not be used to say that our troops deserve to be dying. Also where did you get your evidence for Skull Drilling. And who are the suicide/homicide bombers. That really takes a real man to use women and children as collateral and human shields. These people have no regard for human life and I would like to commend our military for fighting an enemy who is too spineless to fight. Instead they kill innocent civilians. If your opposed to our troops so much, why do you live here. O yeah, because this is the safest place for you to live because of our military.
and if I could add one more comment..arrogance doesnt get a second chance...remember, life is not fair
Dom, read "Hitler's Willing Executioners" by Daniel Goldhagen if you dont believe ordinary people can be arrogant (and murderous)
and if I can add one more in Goldhagen's book, if you can strip the honor off a racist, you have succeeded where he is most vulnerable
if I can strip racists of their honor is one area they are vulnerable, because they DEARLY cherish that
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