Responsible Withdrawal from Iraq

I viewed a film last night called "Baghdad: A Doctor's Story". It was part of the 5th Annual SESAME Film Festival. It was filmed by Dr. Omer Salih Mahdi. It was originally published by the BBC News program This World.

The filmmaker, Dr. Mahdi, was kind and generous enough to travel to Evergreen in order to comment and to answer questions. I was powerfully moved by the film. There were riveting images and sounds and scenes that showed the chaos that reigned in Baghdad at the time of filming (during the summer of 2006).

I was particularly struck by something the doctor said afterward. He said that he does not wish for the US Troops to withdraw from Iraq because of his fear that all out violence would erupt. It was hard for me to listen to him say that. I had so much opposition to the invasion and I have so much opposition to the war of occupation. I want the US Military to withdraw from Iraq. I certainly don't want violence to erupt. If withdrawal is truly stemming a flood of all out violence - then it will be hard to argue for withdrawal.

I still believe, however, that a gradual withdrawal will be possible without resulting in a flood of violence.

Most importantly though, the mission must change to one of stabilization and reconstruction. The US Military must make specific and intensive efforts to repair and reconstruct the civilian infrastructure of Iraq, thereby stabilizing civil society and improving economic conditions. What the Iraqi people need is stability. They need jobs and food and clean water.

Dr. Mahdi said that the Iraqi people don't have resentment toward the US Troops, which I find hard to believe.

Withdrawal must remain the goal. An indefinite imperial presence in Iraq would not behoove either nation. The doctor said that the US troops are the only neutral presence in Iraq. The US troops are neutral in terms of sectarian affiliation. The US troops are not neutral though. They are in Iraq as an occupying force. The US Military occupies Iraq in order to secure the oil wealth. It may sound ridiculous, but the oil is necessary for global domination, which is a goal of the American elite decision makers.

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Aldo Leopold: "We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."

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