Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Fate of the Iraqi People

In all the discussions about Iraq, few people are discussing what will happen to the Iraqi people if America pulls out soon.

When America left Vietnam, John Kerry claimed in testimony before the Senate that there would be "perhaps 2,000, 3,000 people who might face . . . political assassination or something else." I had tremendous difficulty locating statistics on how many actually did face recrimination, but here's a small indication:
Between April 1975 and July 1982, approximately 1,218,000 were resettled in more than 16 countries. About 500,000, the so-called boat people, tried to flee Vietnam by sea; according to rough estimates, 10 to 15 percent of these died, and those who survived the great hardships of their voyages were eventually faced with entry ceilings in the countries that agreed to accept them for resettlement.

And after much searching, here's a reference to the actual number who died as a direct result of our withdrawal from Vietnam:
More than a half-million Vietnamese died at sea fleeing the grand peace Kennedy and his colleagues orchestrated. And more than 1.2 million Cambodians died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, thanks to the power vacuum created by our "humanitarian" withdrawal.

Now, back to Iraq. What will happen to the Iraqi people if Democrats get their way and we pull out of Iraq before we have accomplished the goal? Chuck Colson has some ideas:
One thing is for certain. If the U.S. pulls its troops out now, there will be a bloodbath. Many thousands of Iraqis will perish. I don’t know of any credible critic or supporter of the war who denies that fact. The lives of thousands—maybe hundreds of thousands—are at stake.

He goes on to discuss the political future of the Iraqi people, comparing their situation today with their situation under Saddam Hussein (which is certainly the most positive outcome they might encounter - it could be even worse).
Many thousands were tortured, beaten, even burned. Chemical attacks by his regime killed 30,000 Iraqis and anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 Kurds. To intimidate Saddam’s opponents, allegations of prostitution were used to justify barbaric beheadings. And most gruesome are the accounts of children tortured. The list of human rights violations goes on and on.

There is no doubting that life in Iraq for the average Iraqi is extraordinarily tough right now. But what do the Iraqis themselves think about life in Iraq now as compared to life under Saddam Hussein? Sharansky points to a recent poll: “by nearly 2 to 1 . . . the Iraqis said they preferred life under their new government to life under the old tyranny.”

As we listen to and watch the debating in political circles, we have to consider a lot more than just whether we want to continue to be at war. At the very least, we must remember to think about the fate of the people we've promised to protect. We betrayed the people of Vietnam. Let us make sure we don't betray the people of Iraq as well.

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