Irma Bonetti

April 30, 2007

Save the Cradle of Civilization

All wars, with their turmoil, maiming and killing, wantonly destroy the soul and disfigure the memory of what constitutes a people's very identity, in other words its culture . ” (Bouchenaki, “War”).

Did you know Iraq is known as the cradle of civilization? Iraq at one time was the ancient Mesopotamia , home of various important civilizations whose inventions contributed to the improvement of our lives today. The people of Mesopotamia were creators of wheeled carts, cuneiform writing, and calendars. The ancient people of Mesopotamia were ancient astronomers and mathematicians. Algebra and Arabic numbers first came into circulation in Iraq (Saliba). The first cities were formed in this region and coded civil laws were born. The Hammurabi Laws, or better known as an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, were implemented in these societies and influenced the laws of today's western civilization. This region of the Middle East between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers is also known as Iraq in its evolved form (H-museum). Modern Iraq is well known for possessing the world's second largest deposit of fossil oil, which has been the backdrop for greed, terrorism and political strife. Because of this resource, Iraqis have suffered through many years of corrupt regimes, ethnic/religious atrocities, and a long turbulent history of war. Today, the Iraqi people are caught in a political web laced with the occupation of the US , Britain , and insurgents of various political groups (GPF Report).

In March of 2003, the United States and Britain formed a coalition and occupied Iraq on the basis of weapons of mass destruction and the war on terror. Although this coalition received the approval of the United Nations council, the world opinion was against it (GPF). The United States and Britain formed a coalition to occupy Iraq with intentions of ridding this nation of its corrupt government and ruler. The coalition's main premise was to establish a “democratic” nation, to rebuild a new, modern Iraq , and to protect Iraqi citizens. However, this democratic ideology has ignited a sectarian war and rebellion of which all sides have suffered great losses. As such, Iraq is now a land of desperation and death. The coalition's occupation has kept all borders of Iraq open and unguarded, allowing for the infiltration of opportunists, militia fighters, as well as, the exodus of masses of refugees fleeing their homeland and seeking safety in neighboring countries (Asquith). There is no order, only destruction; and the neighboring countries are suffering the consequences that only amplify the existing friction.

The war has placed a heavy toll on the cultural and academic capital of the country, much of which is irreplaceable. Unbeknownst to those outside of the academic world in the west, Iraq was a country rich in intellectuals and important cultural heritage. As a result of the intent and occupation of Iraq , the Brussels Tribunal, a group of people who organized the World Tribunal, organized hearings to find justification for this occupation. They are also known as the people's movement against the occupation of Iraq . In the meantime, persistence of the occupation, and the forming of a new regime has sparked the destruction of knowledge banks and human capital. This atrocity is the topic of one of the urgent matters the Brussels Tribunal is campaigning, the urgent plea to “save Iraq 's academics.”

At last update of April 10, 2007, the Brussels Tribunal posted on their website a listing of the bodies of three-hundred and one academics killed in Iraq since the American occupation (Brussels Tribunal). These academics covered a wide range of specialties, many of which were professors and doctors of medicine, physics, chemistry, engineering, Arab language, humanities, sociology, and law. Other names on this list are considered threatened, kidnapped, or missing. The knowledge bank is being destroyed; the rebuilding of a nation is now stunted and thrown into a downward spiral of economic loss, slow growth, and further violent uprisings. In essence, it is the objective of insurgents to wipe out the information base of a country by destroying the keys to the doors of knowledge. In other words, the education system of Iraq is being destroyed by a systematic conspiracy of insurgents who are rebelling against the new government to attack all forms of support in the rebuilding of a new Iraq .

Prior to Saddam Hussein's regime, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization documented the education system in Iraq as one of the best in the Middle East region. Specifically, “the scientific and technological institutions were of an international standard, staffed by high quality personnel” (UNESCO). A once affluent nation took pride in their education system and was known throughout the region for excellence. For an Iraqi citizen, education was of the utmost importance, and it was free throughout their academic life—from grade school through graduate school. Iraqis consider the attainment of multiple degrees an honor (Al Bakaa).

After Saddam Hussein's regime came into power, certain aspects of university faculties and curriculums were changed. Education was still free to the citizens of Iraq , however the Ba'ath party, supporters of Sadam Hussein's regime, infiltrated university faculties and instilled Ba'ath party doctrines and ideology as part of the required courses of study. Spies infiltrated classrooms and created lists of suspected non- Ba'ath supporters and their families (Al Bakaa). Despite the threat of Hussein's regime, academics of neighboring countries still aspired to teach and learn in Iraq due to its excellence. However, Saddam Hussein's destructive patterns also forced a detrimental loss of funds towards the educational system by his intermittent investments in wars with other countries. Hence, already out-dated textbooks grew scarce and building maintenance deteriorated.

After the fall of Hussein's regime, newly appointed faculty members at some universities tried to implement new curriculums by obliterating the Ba'ath regime ideology as a mandated course. This attempt led to the rebellious uprising of some insurgent groups, which contributed to the critical editorials in Iraqi newspapers discrediting the credibility of faculty members. In 2003, the American appointed minister of education, Dr. Taher Khalaf Jabur Al-Bakaa, was one of those who were targeted. In 2004, assassination attempts, kidnappings, and successful murders of academics were completed to instill fear in those who sided with the new government (Al-Bakaa). By 2005, Dr. Al-Bakaa received death threats and was forced to abandon his family and seek safety in the United States .

Additionally, the destruction and theft of equipment, furnishings, and learning materials was just the icing of the lost collateral. To make life worse in Iraq, flying debris from land and air bombs further antagonized city infrastructures and educational buildings by damaging water lines and sewage systems leading to loss of hygiene and overall filth. Now, a basic need such as water supply is non-existent in the universities. Sectarian fighters target the students while en route to school. The Teachers are kidnapped, tortured and murdered. Therefore, a plethora of deterrents have forced a lowered attendance, if any at all, in the schools. The collapse of order during this time of armed conflict has imposed a state of fear and caused an exodus of remaining academic professors, doctors, and other professionals. In contrast, university life in Iraq now is a far cry from its stately past.

Furthermore, a crime against all human civilization was committed. Since April 7, 2003, massive lootings of museums and libraries, book burnings at universities, and the pillaging and bombings of ancient archeological sites have further added to mayhem. Not only has the culture of Iraq been plundered, but also the history of the world is irrevocably damaged. Iraq possibly contains an untold amount of hidden and undiscovered archeological sites, possibly up to 100,000 (El-Awady 1). McGuire Gibson, archeologist of the University of Chicago 's Oriental Institute, has stated “The whole country is an archaeological site…People don't understand that Iraq is more important than Egypt in world heritage” (El-Awady 2). The secrets to the roots of many cultures and societies are hidden and yet to be discovered. As a result of these atrocities, the world has lost its history of civilization in the archeological sites and artifacts of Iraq .

During the Gulf War, regional museums in Iraq were targeted with thefts. In a speech given by UNESCO'S Assistant Director of General Culture, Mounir Bouchenaki, the reference to these acts was inferred as a repeat possibility since the inception of the occupation of Iraq . According to Bouchenaki, UNESCO communicated to Interpol, the International Council of Museums (ICOM), and the International Association of Art Dealers, of Iraq 's susceptibility and the possibility of the repeat offenses (Bouchenaki, “Interpol”). Yet the cultural property that was heavily protected was deemed to be the oil fields. The pictures splattered all over news sites showed our military guarding the Ministry of Oil building as cultural sites were plundered and the brain drain continues to occur.

After World War II, the destruction of cultural sites led to the Hague Convention. The Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property during Armed Conflict was adopted in 1954 and mandates specific protocol as agreed by the international community including the United States and Britain (UNESCO). The agreement reads:

“ The High Contracting Parties,
Recognizing that cultural property has suffered grave damage during recent armed conflicts and that, by reason of the developments in the technique of warfare, it is in increasing danger of destruction;

Being convinced that damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind, since each people makes its contribution to the culture of the world;

Considering that the preservation of the cultural heritage is of great importance for all peoples of the world and that it is important that this heritage should receive international protection;

Specifically, Article 5 focuses on the Occupation:


1. Any High Contracting Party in occupation of the whole or part of the territory of another High Contracting Party shall as far as possible support the competent national authorities of the occupied country in safeguarding and preserving its cultural property.

2. Should it prove necessary to take measures to preserve cultural property situated in occupied territory and damaged by military operations, and should the competent national authorities be unable to take such measures, the Occupying Power shall, as far as possible, and in close co-operation with such authorities, take the most necessary measures of preservation.

3. Any High Contracting Party whose government is considered their legitimate government by members of a resistance movement, shall, if possible, draw their attention to the obligation to comply with those provisions of the Convention dealing with respect for cultural property. (Convention, 1954)

As a consequence, the responsibility of saving Iraq 's academics falls in the hands of the instigator of the war, the coalition—the high contracting parties. However, the coalition has done little to show an effective response to such desolation. For example, in 2005 Dr. Al-Bakaa was saved by the Scholars-at-Risk organization as one of two recipients of assistance to escape Iraq and work at American Universities as a visiting scholar (Al-Bakaa). Furthermore, in the nearly four years of war, the United States has only admitted 600 refugees out of millions that have fled Iraq (Gearan). Is it not the instigator's responsibility to clean up its mess? Specifically, the United States has not absorbed the full responsibility of safeguarding this group of people who are so critical to the rebuilding of Iraq . If the United States is determined to help build a new Iraq , they must safeguard the foundations of that nation, which includes higher education, academics, and cultural heritage. The coalition is legally required to protect Iraq 's cultural heritage. The detriment of a nation and its eight thousand years of human history are hanging in the balance (Bouchenaki ) .

At this time, the suggestion of protection brings about conflicting ideas but the oath of protection is what the US has sworn to after invading Iraq . One form of protection would be to offer emergency asylum to academics and scientists in the United States . Without question the executive office of the United States government and the United Nations should be working together to implement an immediate plan of asylum protection negotiations. The fact that in four years only 600 Iraqi refugees have been admitted to the United States is deplorable and embarrassing. Of course, if the United States does act to implement special status admission to Iraqi academic groups, the backlash of those who fear the implication of an increased population will not die down easily. It can also be argued that a negative side of admitting these groups to the United States could impose a significant amount of pressure on our social systems and security infrastructure. Lastly, it would be devastating to the rebuilding project if those who received asylum protection decided not to return to Iraq . For example, after speaking to Dr. Al-Bakaa, I ventured to ask him if he liked his visit thus far. Dr. Al-Bakaa admitted his reluctance to return to Iraq and preference to continue living in the United States for as long as possible. Thus, the asylum protection plan would therefore be a last objective as it proves risky and creates the disadvantage of removing the targeted group altogether from their homeland.

Another option is relocating the academics and scientists to the Green Zone in Baghdad , which is like a city within a city. The Green Zone is the central area of Baghdad where the former government and party loyalists were housed. Checkpoints and blast proof walls surround this community. This area is heavily protected by the American and British military and is also known as the “ultimate gated community.” The Green Zone contains approximately 4 miles of Saddam's extravagant spending. Saddam's Palace with marble floors and gold faucets are just the beginning. Saddam built many villas, which are scattered throughout for his family and party loyalists. The Green Zone also contains the convention center, a museum, an underground bunker, a park, shops, and a hotel. The convention center and Saddam's palace and grounds now house the US military headquarters and barracks. American consulting companies have moved in and the current Iraqi government officials also live there (Global Security). As a matter of fact, the Green Zone is rumored to appear like a college dormitory. What a sight it must be for Iraqi nationals living amongst them.

The sights and blaring sounds of American music screams out from radios, laptops and cell phones everywhere, and Saddam's swimming pools splash with the youth of American military excitement. Sadly, there is no mention of housing for Iraq 's academics and scientists. The Green Zone has taken the Iraqi culture and placed it in a pit somewhere for discovery later. If the war had taken place in the North American continent and Washington DC were declared a Green Zone by the enemy, how would it feel to have the Capital building turned into an Iraqi dormitory? The audacity to overtake a country and ignore and disrespect the culture is completely concave to the American ideal. It sickens me to learn of this tragic behavior. Instead of facilitating a safe haven, we are demonstrating imperialism.

Nevertheless, the research for a solution has directed me to the Institute of International Education (IIE). This organization is an international higher education and professional exchange agency. IIE administers over 250 educational programs around the world including the Fulbright Program. In 2003, the Learning International Network Consortium (LINC) was formed as a MIT-managed initiative. “The purpose of LINC is to help facilitate the implementation of world-class tertiary education in developing countries, leveraging internet, television and radio technologies” (Larson, Wasserstein). The consortium convened to assess the Iraqi university conditions, and evaluate admissions and grading processes (Del Castillo). The objective was to provide the benefit of online resource projects created in conjunction with Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, the occupancy has slowed investment and commitment to proposed projects from philanthropic organizations. With proper investment and assistance, opening the Green Zone as protective asylum to the academics seemed to be a possibility for the MIT managed consortium. Most recently however, the infiltration of suicide bombers into the Iraqi Parliament building amidst the heavily guarded zone is of grave concern. On April 12, 2007, a suicide attack killed eight lawmakers during lunchtime (McIntyre, Sanchez, Tawfeeq). Anyone wishing to gain entry to the Parliament building must pass five security checks including bomb sniffing dogs and x-ray machines (Al-Faidh). It is astonishing that such a massively guarded zone could allow the penetration of suicide bombers. Hence, no zone is a safe zone. What could the occupiers be concentrating on?

At this point, if the Green Zone is out of the question, perhaps another option to explore that would accommodate the relocation of higher education professionals is Education City in Doha , Qatar . Qatar is removed from Iraq 's immediate area but still located in the Middle East . Although this campus is supported by a foundation whose mission is to develop the citizens of Qatar, its sprawling 2,400 acres and its multi-institutional links to other campuses in the United States and multiple regions have the resources to offer assistance in saving Iraq's academics. As a matter of fact, Education City has a reliable network (Chester) that could provide Iraqi academics the opportunity to stay in the Middle East and continue research if provided the opportunity. However, there is no mention of such an offer. Definitely, no one in the region is answering the cry for help. Which leads me to thinking of Fortune 500's list of the richest people in the world and all the Arab money being thrown around by bored royalty. I wonder why these well-endowed people are not struck with altruism. Why not combine their efforts to save Iraqi brains? Oprah Winfrey, an American billionaire, has built a school for girls in Africa because children in Africa prize education higher than children in America . Why not build a sprawling campus to house Iraq 's professionals? I wonder about the thought process of education and the importance of cultural heritage in the United States . Is it because we do not place enough importance in history and education? A trip to the museum recently helped put things into perspective. As I was surrounded with tourists and bedazzled by flags pointing in the direction of the museum store, the business of a museum is really just a capitalist venture.

Concurrently, I set aside one Sunday morning to explore the Mesopotamian artifacts at the museum for research. The day was beautiful, sunny and crisp. At 11am I started my travel to Manhattan for my excursion to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I had not visited there in at least ten years. The air feels fresh like a new pair of sneakers. My bus ride to the city was just as congested as any day of the workweek. Doesn't anyone stay home anymore? Even though I am at spitting distance from New York City , the slow bumper-to-bumper ride took a ridiculous twenty-five minutes. Exasperated from the trip, I jumped off the bus and immediately set myself into work speed strut. The slow pace of the tourists looking up and away in all directions instead of straight ahead, forced me to increase my walking speed to turbo New York gallop. As I wove around the slow pokes, my plantar fascia reminded me to take it slow, so I descended to the nearest subway station armed with my Metrocard.

Despite the complexity in typical New York fashion of which subway is running, on what platform, in the opposite direction due to construction, I arrived at my final destination in good time. As I walked towards the museum, the sidewalk “art” vendors displayed their wares hoping to entice a cash laden tourist into making a purchase. Annoyingly, my view was obstructed as I neared the sidewalk leading to the entry steps. The sidewalk was marred with giant plywood framing and a “pardon our appearance” sign. Thankfully, the grand steps were free of the protrusion of construction work and were thoroughly speckled with tourists. With each step I took, sounds of people speaking other languages tickled my ears. Even the English was foreign. Everyone was taking photographs of each other as I hurried through with my predetermined agenda in hand.

Entering the grand foyer was an experience itself. The high ceilings towered above lent to the echoing of the crowd's voices and movements. Unless the crowds hindered the appearance of the room, somehow I thought this foyer was much bigger years ago. The air was thick with dankness and enough tourism to make any New Yorker run away. Nevertheless, I foraged through the crowds and took a place on the admissions line. Twenty minutes later, I sweet-talked the clerk into giving me the student deal despite my lack of an identification card. My admission granted me access to the grand halls of the museum and I made my way through the Roman and Greek marble statue displays. They are so beautiful, however my eyes could not help but gravitate to the missing male genitalia. Did someone break the parts off of all the statues? I noticed a woman looking at me took notice of the same as me. We laughed as she pointed to the obvious. I left and found my way to the Near East collection on the second floor.

The cradle of civilization collection demonstrated artifacts from the earliest cities of the world known to have their beginnings in what is known as Iraq today. As I approached the collection area, the lighting was very dim. The section chosen for this display was small and off to the side of the museum restaurant. Upon coming into the display section, you heard the noise from the restaurant and the echoes of the grand foyer traveling up behind you and the silence and emptiness of the collection area ahead of you. The collections were labeled but mixed. The Assyrian collection was awe-inspiring as it opened with a hallway decorated with massive bronze reliefs. These reliefs used to decorate palace walls and were carved with human, animal, and mythical images. Scattered throughout and around the perimeter of the Near East Asia collection were glass cases with a multitude of various artifacts including statues of Kings or gods, and jewelry pieces decorated and woven of gold, lapis lazuli, carnelian and silver with intricate carvings. The tablets with cuneiform writing were much smaller than I expected but beautiful. The display would probably have taken about thirty to forty-five minutes to view, as it was small compared to other displays in the museum. It was also not very popular as I was the only one there, watching and listening to the echoes of activity elsewhere. After an hour I left to the information line to try to get a name for an interview. My ten-minute wait was in vain as the clerk only asked me to “come back when it's not so busy.”

“As life goes on, we acquire such adroitness in the culture of our pleasures, that we content ourselves with that which we derive from thinking of a woman, as I was thinking of Gilberte, without troubling ourselves to ascertain whether the image corresponds to the reality, --and with the pleasure of loving her, without needing to be sure, also, that she loves us; or again that we renounce the pleasure of confessing our passion for her, so as to preserve and enhance the passion that she has for us, like those Japanese gardeners who, to obtain one perfect blossom, will sacrifice the rest.” (Proust, 420-421)

As I have said, the war in Iraq has destroyed valuable and irreplaceable artifacts and cultural treasures. In 2003, the Baghdad museum, libraries, and numerous archeological sites, were damaged by thieves who looted Iraq 's and the western world's evidence of history. The fact that the coalition forces were focusing their energies on safeguarding oil reserves while thieves stole from right under their noses suggests that protection and value of what is truly important and priceless, lies in the commodity of oil.

For instance, on March 17 th , 2007, the ministry of information and culture of Afghanistan in cooperation with UNESCO held a press conference to document the restitution of cultural artifacts to be returned to the Kabul National Museum . Apparently, a Swiss foundation received donations from private donors of more than 1300 Afghan ethnographic and archaeological objects to be returned to their national origin (UNESCO). After reading the list of representatives present, this new awareness sparked me to research the Afghan region. Afghanistan , although a Middle Eastern country, is not just an oil and coal-rich nation, but a nation with a prime geographic position to build pipeline access of oil reserves via the Caspian Sea from central Asian oil rich nations (Tanter). As a matter of fact, further research resulted in the acknowledgment of American developer contracts in the region that stand to gain billions of dollars, i.e. Halliburton ( Flanders ). The artifacts that were returned to Afghanistan only reassure the public that Iraq 's relics will also find their place at home again as long as there is oil in the balance.

In addition, another example is an interview on May 28, 2001, of Michael Klare, author of the book "Resource Wars," by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Inc. Klare declared, “all regional powers are focusing increasingly on how to protect or enlarge their access to vital resources over the next generation .” Klare also stated, "I think in this case this is a national security consideration that's driving all of this. The United States has to get that oil from that region [Central Asia] and will make a deal with whatever governments are there in place that are willing to work with us [that is, the US], like the government[s] in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan that are far from ideal with respect to human rights and democratic procedure. And I think that's a reflection of the view that I write about in my book -- we [the US] view oil as a security consideration and we have to protect it by any means necessary, regardless of other considerations, other values (RFE/RL ). " The interview is old and prior to 9/11, however, it reverberates the United States ' objective and the impending resource war situation hiding behind the war on terror.

Lastly, an article posted by World Bank/United Nations on October 2, 2003 discusses Iraq reconstruction needs to the Core Group on Iraq . This group consists of the United Arab Emirates , the Unites States , the European Union and Japan . The assessment of Iraq 's reconstruction needs from 2004 until 2007 are listed in sectors of priority and critical needs. This assessment was created well after the looting of Iraq 's cultural sites. However, the sector of culture, which was assessed by UNESCO, was only third in line, just under oil and topping the list was Security and Police. According to The Hague Convention adopted in 1954, all cultural sites are to be protected during any time of peace or armed conflict. To repeat, the only site of culture that was highly protected was the oil… like those Japanese gardeners who, to obtain one perfect blossom, will sacrifice the rest.”(Proust 421. Thus the invasion of Iraq on the basis of weapons of mass destruction was a ploy. As, it was always planned to find, obtain, and control the oil resource. But oil has now turned into a weapon of choice. Oil being the most powerful and needed resource is the weapon of mass destruction.

“The past is hidden somewhere outside the realm, beyond the reach of intellect, in some material object (in the sensation which that material object will give us) which we do not suspect. And as for that object, it depends on chance whether we come upon it or not before we ourselves must die.” (Proust, 46)

Foreshadowing a worsening situation to the Iraqi war, China and India continue to increase their economic power, as well as, their demand for oil. The genocide in Darfur continues as a consequence of the industrial world's addiction to oil. Moreover, it was disturbing to read the news of George Bush's visit in Latin America during the week of March 10, 2007. The growing tension between Latin America and the United States highlights doom looming in the distance. The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, is playing devils advocate with his pocket full of oil to support his antics. Chavez and his shenanigans of pretend socialism and anti-Americanism would not be so empowered if not for the black gold contained in the depths of Venezuela . Chavez' gift of speech that seduces his followers is vaguely reminiscent of Adolf Hitler's brainwashing of a country. If it were not for the South American continent desperately looking for a scapegoat to pin their corruptive governing malpractices on the American donkey, where would Chavez find his supporters? Again, evidence of greed to manipulate and control is backed by the hypnotic lure of oil. Eerily, as Chavez accuses Bush and America of greed and hypocrisy, his taunting and rallying echoes of Nazism and the fascism of the now dead Saddam Hussein, or the Al Qaeda doctrine, and the Taliban regime as they all ranted against the west. So what will this crescendo of mad politics lead to--the fight over oil and power increases in all corners of the globe; and what is to become of all humanity with the persistence of this age-old battle? History indicates the creation and connection of all of these evils is a creation of the western world. Stupidly or sloppily, western governments such as the United States , Britain , and France spawned the evil cocktail combination of Nazi doctrine with Wahhabiism to eventually form our very own and well-trained terrorist--Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban (Loftus). These new doctrines masked under Islam have swarmed their chosen regions like cockroaches that multiply and we cannot quite control. They hide in the dark edge of our western world and prepare for attack as they patiently wait for us to fall asleep.

Looking back earlier this year, Newsweek's January 22 nd issue displays a cover of an Iraqi child holding a weapon of men. The cover is disturbing. Christian Caryl, the author of the article on Iraq 's future generations of Jihadists provides a short synopsis of a seventeen-year-old boy named Ammar. Ammar's description as a Sunni soldier envelops an astounding experience for a person his age. This young man's prideful boast of having a gun and fighting in a battle is the sum of his mind's absorption of violence and trauma in his environment. Poignantly, the war between Sunnis and Shiites combined with the American presence are producing a country of future leaders with overflowing minds of hatred.

What will become of a country whose survivors only know violence? What becomes of a people who are torn between going to school and risking death or joining fighting groups to defend their people? Ammar is at an age when life is beginning. A seventeen-year-old should be in school not fighting wars and identifying headless bodies by their clothing. Ammar's intense situation leads to a bleak future of poverty and when multiplied by others like him, the compounded desperation of a country. The article is profound in that it blatantly provides the prognosis of Iraq 's future and possible further terrorist retaliation. Iraq 's war torn nation is unable to shield its young population from further trauma and the fact that President Bush insists we must win this war only aggravates the situation.

The start of this war was based on half-truths and revenge. Our trust and the abstinence from probing for facts led our nation to believe we were fighting righteously. The deceit of our nation continues it's inflicting of pain with the further deployment of more troops to Iraq . There is no winning when the young men of nations are killed for naught, for ethnic beliefs, for lies. We could save thousands of American lives by pulling our troops back. However, if we withdraw improperly, we would clear the way for the creation of another Darfur and worse, a greater opportunity for terrorists to band together against us. Therefore, our choices are limited and there is no clean remedy. We have to finish the complicated mess we started respectfully and we have to set a moral example by admitting our faults and rectifying the situation. The further loss of life should be decreased by a slow retreat from Iraq . The education of Iraq 's future generations and the history of the world are in our hands now.



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< >


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