This is worth yelling louder:
BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) – Residents of Iraq’s southern city of Basra have begun strolling riverfront streets again after four years of fear, their city much quieter since British troops withdrew from the grand Saddam Hussein-era Basra Palace.
Political assassinations and sectarian violence continue, some city officials say, but on a much smaller scale than at any time since British troops moved into the city after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
This has been the last resort argument against bringing the troops home – they must ensure that Iraq does not spiral into civil war.
Beyond the facts that:
- civil war is already there
- what will happen once the troops leave will happen pretty much irrespective of when they leave, as they are not resolving anything in the meanwhile, so keeping them only increases the death toll for everybody
- the “Pottery Barn” rule never said anything about trying to repair in the shop what you’ve broken
the argument that there is a responsibility not to abandon the Iraqis to war and chaos has had surprising force.
Well, although for most of us on the site it is not a good enough argument to keep the troops over there (and keep the occupation going, and the deathtoll increasing), it happens that it is not even true!
“The situation these days is better. We were living in hell … the area is calm since their withdrawal,” said housewife Khairiya Salman, who lives near the palace.
Civil servant Wisam Abdul Sada agreed. “We do not hear the sounds of explosions which were shaking our houses and terrifying our women and children,” he told Reuters.
It had been feared the British withdrawal would trigger an upsurge in violence in Basra. Merchant Faris Mohammed Ali described the British soldiers as a “scarecrow”.
“Frankly I didn’t want the British troops to withdraw, not because I liked them but because I am afraid of the factions and their armed groups, they are in a constant struggle which may burn the city one day,” he said.
But for now Basra seems quieter and safer to some families who have started to come out at night to stroll along the banks of the Shatt al-Arab river, something that would have been unthinkable not long ago.
Despite the very real infighting between Iraqis, the occupation troops are making things worse, not better.
There’s not a single reason to keep them in.