Young Voters Speak Out: Each day, RR.com will spotlight politically minded youth writers from throughout the U.S. speaking their minds on Election 2012. First-time voters, student journalists and new graduates will debate the Obama vs. Romney race to the White House. Young Democrats, Republicans and ‘Undecided’ Americans are eager to play politics and choose the next Commander & Chief.
Read Steven Aiello's thoughts from a right-leaning perspective:
In July, with daily death tolls reaching into the triple digits, Iraqis witnessed some of the worst violence in the last two years. This raised questions about whether the December 2011 withdrawal from Iraq was the correct decision. Justifications for war were suspect from the start and the pressure to leave Iraq mounted with the rising loss of American troops. Withdrawal was inevitable. Typically however, the biggest flaw with American foreign policy toward Iraq, including the decision-making of the Obama administration, has not been the decisions to invade or withdraw, but rather how those decisions are implemented.
Going it Alone
The decision to invade, irrespective of political motivation or legal justifications, was poorly executed. Specifically, American policymakers and military strategists lacked sufficient information about Iraqi domestic issues and the ethnic, religious and political cleavages which led to an imminent civil war. American decision-makers also failed to find credible, reliable Iraqi allies who would be respected within their own circles and devoted to building bridges rather than pursuing conflict or personal gain. This was not done prior to the 2005 invasion and the results have been grave.
From Bad to Worse
Similar to the decision to invade, the withdrawal seems to have been ill-advised and ignorant of the political and social realities of the current state of Iraq. If there is one thing American policy-makers should have realized by now, it was the tenuous nature of the relationship between the Shia, Sunni and Kurdish political groups, the three largest in the country. Prior to withdrawal from Iraq, there needed to be assurances that the political leaders represented in the Iraqi government for each of these communities were the right ones. This was clearly not the case when the withdrawal was completed; the Al Hashimi- Al Maliki debacle is evidence of that. Certainly the American presence should have been reduced, arguably continually. But the complete withdrawal prior to full political stability at the top of the national leadership, was doomed have significant drawbacks.
A Crisis in Leadership
If Iraq's government cannot make peace, then what hope do its citizens have of insurgents calling it quits? And if America's leaders still have not learned these lessons more than half a decade down the line, then what can we expect from them in other areas?