The war in Iraq, as part of the larger Global War on Terror, will likely be the defining event of our generation. Some of our peers on our campuses have been working to undermine support for the mission in Iraq, and it is up to us to demonstrate that not all students share their shortsighted devotion to retreat. Withdrawal from Iraq would be an enormous disaster, and this group is adamantly opposed to withdrawal until our commanders in Iraq certify that the task is complete. Here are three reasons why withdrawal is no option:
Withdrawal Would Provide Al-Qaeda With A Safe Haven
Since the mid 1990s, Al-Qaeda has been at war with the United States by its own admission. The war in Afghanistan forced the Taliban out of power and eliminated Al-Qaeda's safe haven there. Now, Al-Qaeda intends to turn Iraq into a new terrorist stronghold. Al-Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri, has declared that Iraq "is now the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era." Withdrawal from Iraq before stability is achieved would abandon Iraq's democratic government to the forces of our nation's sworn enemy.
Withdrawal Would Establish Iran As A Regional Power
The democratic government of Iraq is mostly Shi'a, as is the nation as a whole. Al-Qaeda, which is a predominately Sunni organization, would immediately target Iraq's Shi'a politicians after an American withdrawal. In the absence of American protection, these Shi'a politicians would be forced to rely on Shi'a militias backed by Iran for their security. As a result, the Iraqi government would become dependent on Iran for its continued existence. Iran is one of the charter members of President Bush's 'Axis of Evil', advocates the destruction of Israel, and is a supporter of the Baathist regime in Syria, and the terror group Hezbollah. The national security of the US and the stability of the region would be greatly harmed by Iranian hegemony in Iraq.
Withdrawal Would Be A Humanitarian Disaster
Some politicians and members of the media have claimed that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war. Throughout recent sectarian strife, Coalition troops have separated the two sides and maintained the peace to the best of their ability. In the event of an American withdrawal, Sunni and Shi'a death squads and militia would have free rein to attack each other and pursue genocide. Every problem we currently see on television would be multiplied ten fold as refugees flee from death and anarchy. As a nation, we cannot allow this disaster to happen on our watch.
Victory Is the Only Acceptable Outcome
If Coalition forces abandon Iraq, Sunni militants and Al-Qaeda on one hand and Shi'a militants and Iranian surrogates on the other will fight for control of the country. Unfortunately, peace-loving Iraqis will be caught in the middle and suffer the most. While we are in Iraq, we can provide security necessary to continue the political process of reconciliation. Progress has been made in bringing militant groups to the table and weakening the influence of Al-Qaeda and Iran, but this work is incomplete. We must stay in Iraq until the job is done and we will have protected the first democratic transition in the Arab world, dealt Al-Qaeda a great defeat, checked Iranian schemes, and ensured security and freedom for the Iraqi people.