What in the world was I thinking? A question asked by most students at least once during their college experience.
Now, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has acknowledged the possibility that U.S. soldiers could be in the Middle East for the next decade, our country as a whole is asking the same question.
The American media as a whole deserves blame for giving the administration a pass for their justifications of sending us into this quagmire. Every reason for going to war, from Weapons of Mass Destruction to Iraq's support of terrorism has been disproved. Yet no one in the administration has taken the responsibility for misguiding and misleading the nation. Now the administration is beginning to sow the seeds for future conflicts with Iran and Syria. It would be a further mistake of the American media and citizens to dismiss the mess our military finds itself in without beginning to ask the tough questions.
Specifically, when can we begin discussing bringing our soldiers home?
We all agree that leaving Iraq to fend for itself at this point would be irresponsible. As Colin Powel forewarned President Bush, if we break it, we buy it. At what point however, do we accept the futility of our efforts and allow the United Nations to take the prevailing role in the rebuilding of this war-torn country? This option offers numerous advantages over our current dilemma. Iraq has transformed from a secular, dictator-run country to one of lawlessness that is providing the perfect grounds for terrorists and future enemies. The UN offers legitimacy, which the current occupation lacks.
Two and a half years after our decision to invade Iraq, more than 2,000 American soldiers have lost their lives, along with countless Iraqi citizens. Ten years from now, if our presence remains in the Middle East, the Vietnam comparisons will be all too real.