Iraqis welcome the departure of the Americans, and find it difficult to accept the way America changed their country.
Sohu, China; 23 August 2010
By Zhang Guoqing; Translated By Trevor Cook; Edited by Allie Kirchner
Following the withdrawal of the last group of combat troops from Iraq, it looks as though America's seven-year-long struggle has come to an end; but its work in Iraq has not finished, and the withdrawal seems sudden and awkward.|
The American withdrawal is sudden because it is still difficult to identify a trace of the prosperous and stable Iraq that the U.S. government promised when it initiated its attack. And considering all of the original promises, the decision to pull out the U.S. army now is indeed a hasty one.
In fact, even some Iraqis feel that the United States is leaving somewhat hurriedly and under pressure. Interestingly, imprisoned former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz has made what may seem like a surprising request of the Obama administration: He hopes that the United States will continue its occupation of Iraq. Mr. Aziz said sincerely, "You cannot just leave us and throw Iraq to the wolves. When you make a mistake you need to correct a mistake, not leave Iraq to its death."
Aziz does not speak alone. Iraqi commentators also hope that the U.S. army can stay until 2020 because, speaking optimistically, it will take at least 10 years for Iraq to return to normal. It is completely irresponsible for the U.S. army to leave Iraq at such a strange time. After all, this war was launched by the Bush administration to search for something that didn't exist. Now Saddam is dead and the Iraqi people are left with the bill.
Even though he is in prison, Aziz watches the developments in Iraq on television. In his opinion, today's Iraq has more sickness, more hunger. "We are all victims of America and Britain," he says. Aziz has said quite a few things that are on the minds of Iraqis.
Iraqis do in fact welcome the departure of the Americans, but they find it difficult to accept the way America changed their country. Now the United States is leaving with nothing more than a pat on the back. It will be difficult for Iraq to clean up the mess that the United States is leaving behind.
Among those injured are American troops and their families. In the last seven years, over 4,400 American troops lost their lives in Iraq; the number of Iraqis who will never again be able to stand on their own land is many times that number. This loss of life makes this groundless war appear absurd and full of bitter grief.
Notably, Defense Secretary Robert Gates indicated during this time that he would like to retire, citing fatigue. Indeed, two intertwined wars and two nuclear proliferation crises with no resolution in sight would be enough to exhaust him both mentally and physically. It appears he is already reluctant to complete his grueling term of appointment. Similarly, anxious, hopeless and insecure U.S. troops do not want to continue their task in Iraq any longer. With President Obama's promise of a withdrawal, they eagerly look forward to an early departure.
But the question remains: What are the Iraqis to do? They face trials from Kurdish separatist forces and are enveloped in the traumatic shadow of ongoing terrorist attacks. They further face the hardship of a difficult economic recovery, and both the current Iraqi government and security forces seem unable to take up these burdens and appear to be awaiting the end of their dark, and perhaps very long, night.