The Current Discussion: The Obama administration has finally set a date for withdrawing U.S. troops for Iraq. If ethnic strife returns there, raising again the specter of civil war, should the U.S. send troops back in?
The promise of a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq is a welcome sign, even though one would argue that leaving behind 30,000 troops is less of a disengagement and more of an acknowledgment that the rebuilding of Iraq's political and security apparatuses is an indefinite process. The past six odd years have not yielded the political and social stability that was planned for Iraq, with civil strife, sectarian hate and political malaise all thrown into the pot. The reasons for this are varied. Do countries with extreme dictatorships suddenly transform themselves into democracies overnight? Whether we like it or not, the fact is Iraq's history was more as a secular Arab country than an ethnically and religiously divided country, with a strong central government ensuring the secular nature of the social fabric.