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Commentary: US Should Withdraw from Iraq

By Peter Siedlecki

Buffalo, NY – I'd been working recently on finishing an attic room. I slid a piece of molding through my hand to position it in the miter box and caught a sliver in my thumb. I pulled it out immediately; but after some time passed, I realized that I hadn't gotten all of it. I tried to ignore it, but the aching sting brought on by the invasion of my flesh by that sliver of wood and its occupation of a space within my body spread to my entire hand, not in any seriously medical way, but in a more psychological way. Finally, it became a pervasive annoyance, an all-encompassing concern. That innocuous object had become enormous to my body's consciousness. I finally tore at the skin around the inflammation with the sharp tips of my tweezers and probed deeper and deeper until I rooted it out.

I then realized that the tips of my carpenter's tweezers held a metaphor. Hadn't the US become Iraq's painful sliver, so that now, not only are the crazies opposing our presence there, but also hosts of ordinary Iraqi citizens who have no commitment to any terrorist cause and no previous antipathy toward the United States. They have begun to celebrate each successful attack upon the American occupation and its attempt to install their concept of an acceptable governmental structure. The Iraqis are becoming impatient with their pain. It is time for the UN to step in and preside over the clean-up of the mess the US has made there and allow the Iraqis to find whatever government functions most efficiently for them.

Will we leave with egg on our faces? Of course. Will we have sacrificed lives unnecessarily? Absolutely. Will we have spent huge amounts of money to rectify a situation that we ourselves created? You bet. Did our incursion into Iraq have any rational connection to retaliation for 9/11. Not at all. Was it all a huge waste whose main purpose was to validate an administration. Yes. And now, let's withdraw quietly before any more young Americans patriotic though they be are wasted as well.

There were and continue to be despots in the world worse than Saddam Hussein. For whatever reason, we have not selected them as object lessons from which the rest of the residents of this planet might learn about our power. The Bush administration has admitted there were no weapons of mass destruction. No chemicals, No Germs. There is no connection to Al Quaeda. Isn't it time for the United States to withdraw its annoying presence from within the corpus of Iraq so that the Iraqi people can become themselves and not be transformed by their pain into a new wave of terrorists?

Listener-Commentator Peter Siedlecki is dean of the division of Arts and Sciences at Daemen College.