Jewish World Review Sept. 23, 2005 / 19 Elul, 5765
Iraq Protest: Time for a Break
By Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak
Philip Gold and Erin Solaro have been noted in this column on occasion and
are (full disclosure) personally known to your Medicine Men. Gold, a former
Marine and veteran national defense analyst who predicted an imminent
terrorist strike in the summer of 2001, has opposed the war since spring
"I thought," says Gold, "that it was one lousy idea militarily,
politically, economically. Most of all, I don't believe that the United
States should be in the business of occupying other countries in order to
Solaro, a Seattle-based writer who covered Iraq and Afghanistan as a
reporter embedded with Army and Marine combat units, concurs. "Nobody
understood that the relevant question was not, 'Would Iraqis fight for
Sadamism?' It was always, 'What would Iraqis fight for, or against, after
For three years, Solaro and Gold have written and spoken against the war.
But now they're saying that it's time for all serious opponents of the war
to cool it until next summer.
Their reason is simple. Now is the time to determine, as fairly and
accurately as possible, whether or not the Iraqi people want western-style
freedom badly enough to fight and sacrifice for it. The outlook is not
promising. But for precisely that reason, Americans should give them every
chance and not put pressure on the administration to do anything that might
lessen those chances.
There's a major insurrection underway in Iraq, arguably also a civil war.
The people will vote on their constitution next month. This document leaves
unresolved one vital issue: the exact role of Islam and Islamic law in the
government. It is also far from clear that the federal system can work, and
whether the government can defeat, disarm or co-opt the numerous private
militias that the constitution bans.
If the constitution is adopted, Iraq will hold general elections in
December. These will demonstrate what kind of government the Iraqis prefer,
indeed, whether they want to remain a unified nation at all. After that six
months will show whether there's anything in Iraq worth further American
"Of course, they won't defeat the insurgency by next summer," says Gold.
"Their government will still be settling in. But we'll certainly know
whether the people of Iraq not just the government, the people care
enough to press on. We can't stay there as an occupying force indefinitely,
or until some mythical "course" has been stayed. In the end, it's their
course. If they ever intend to run it, the time is now."
But if serious critics should give Iraq this chance, they also have the
duty to speak up if the experiment fails. That means, among other things,
making sure that the war becomes a major issue in the 2006 congressional
elections, and that candidates are required to make their own positions
It also means that serious critics not the Blame America Firsters or
those who hate the President for the sake of the hatred, or those who
simply want an American defeat must accept one unpleasant fact. Says
Solaro: "Afghanistan and Iraq are only the opening campaigns of a very long
war. Opening campaigns don't always go well. We have to press on. That
requires admitting mistakes when necessary, correcting them, and thinking
clearly about what we can and can't do effectively."
Gold has offered a new way of thinking about this struggle in an essay, "To
Guard an Era: American Purpose after Iraq" in the September Naval Institute
Proceedings, a piece that has begun to attract attention within the
For the next nine months, let's give the Iraqi people the chance for
freedom we went there to give them. Whatever happens, let's all start
thinking about the rest of this war against terrorism that we have no
choice but to fight if we value our freedom.
Editor's Note: Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., wrote this week's commentary.
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Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple award winning writer who comments on medical-legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a Discovery Institute Senior Fellow and a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Both JWR contributors are Harvard trained diagnostic radiologists. Comment by clicking here.