Partitioning Iraq ill-advised; let nation determine own fate

From Paul Snodgrass, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University
(Regarding article, “Biden’s Iraq plan scores Senate win,” Sept. 27.)

Sen. Joseph Biden’s (D-Del.) plan for Iraq is problematic in two ways.

First, while supporters of this non-binding amendment to the defense authorization bill believe they are challenging the president’s Iraq policy, they are instead reinforcing the idea that it is for policymakers in Washington to decide the fate of the Iraqi nation.

Second, even though Biden and 75 other senators have taken a good step by recognizing that a political solution is required due to the non-existence of military solutions, the reality is that partitioning has been tried many times before, including in Iraq, without success.

Partition is one of the favorite tools of occupational forces withdrawing from territory. Sometimes this is done to preserve influence in certain areas to cut losses, and sometimes it is done to try and mitigate the genocidal fallout from the policies of occupation. Great Britain partitioned Palestine and the Indian subcontinent in 1947. In both cases what followed was ethnic cleansing, as people found themselves on the wrong side of the lines, and multiple wars over territorial sovereignty. In both cases, a state of conflict continues to exist 60 years later.

Iraq itself was partitioned by the British in 1921 during a failed occupation eerily similar to that of today. The nation of Kuwait was carved out of Iraq by the British, a fact that directly led to the first Gulf War almost 70 years later that drew in the United States.

Biden and his allies prefer to point to the division of the former Yugoslavia as a success story. However, the sustainability of division based on ethnicity is far from assured, as the region remains troubled. One would hardly wish a process of “Balkanization” on any people. To ignore other, more relevant, historical comparisons is intellectually lazy, dishonest and ultimately unfair to the people of Iraq and the United States.

The United States should leave the future of Iraq up to the Iraqis, including their political processes and distribution of resources. True opposition to President Bush’s failed Iraq policies requires a firm commitment to the self-determination of the Iraqi people and not just another imposed outcome with a proven track record of ensuring generations of conflict.

Arlington, Va.

Suffering Kerry, Pelosi

From Jeff Hollingsworth
(Regarding op-ed, “Bush declares war on bipartisan bill to provide health insurance to children,” Sept. 26, by Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes Kerry2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states When it comes to Colombia, America is in a tough spot 36 people who could challenge Trump in 2020 MORE, D-Mass.) Sen. Kerry’s irresponsible, indefensible shotgun statement that President Bush has “declared war” on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill is a prime example of rhetorical overkill and bloviating at work as debate on the bill continues.

What’s not talked about is why Bush says the bill deserves a veto. No, Sen. Kerry, it has nothing to do with “declaring war” on poor, defenseless children. It has everything to do with the bill being overstuffed with new mandates, selected “HillaryCare” elements from a decade ago, expanding the program’s reach to the middle and upper-middle class, and other extraneous features having little or nothing to do with helping children. Maybe we should ask if Sen. Kerry and his colleagues have “declared war” on taxpayers.

Recent debate in the House on SCHIP reached a new level of mindlessness. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), trying to cloak herself in righteous indignation, attempted to quote Jesus (but fell short) when she piously said, “Suffer the children” as she slammed the president for his veto threat. The Speaker (and her speechwriters) displayed to the world their unfamiliarity with Scripture by equating “suffer the children” with children suffering.

Actually, Madame Speaker, the “suffer” as used in Jesus’s remark has nothing to do with pain or agony. It’s an antiquated form of to allow or to permit. “Suffer (allow) the little children to come unto me,” Jesus said. Elsewhere in the Bible, the term is used again when the Apostle admonishes not to “suffer fools gladly,” meaning to tolerate stupidity. Amen, Madame Speaker.