We won’t stay patient for much longer!

  • Rick Horowitz / Syndicated Columnist
  • Saturday, July 30, 2005 9:00pm
  • Opinion

“We don’t want any delays. They’re simply going to have to make the compromises necessary and get on with it.”

– Donald Rumsfeld, laying down the law.

What’s with these people? Do they think they can dilly-dally their way through writing a constitution and putting a government together, and we’ll just sit here and say, “Hey, take your time”?

Do we look like suckers? We’re not suckers. We’re Americans, and these Iraqis have to shape up, and fast, because we’re running out of patience. We’re a patient country, but we’re running out of patience, so they’d better get their act together. Now.

That means having their own guys start doing more of the fighting.

That means having their own guys take over running the prisons.

That means using their own money to put soldiers into the field.

That means telling Syria and Iran to back off, and sounding like you mean it.

And mostly it means finishing the constitution and getting it approved and getting a government up and running so we can get the hell out of here.

It’s not like we haven’t said all this stuff before, but these people don’t do anything until they see the hammer, which is why Rumsfeld and Casey are talking troop withdrawals again. Middle of ‘06, they’re saying – they want to start bringing our kids home by the middle of ‘06. Which means it’s time for the Iraqis to move off the dime, or whatever it is they’ve got here. They should want that, right? Everybody wants their own place.

But you think they’re happy about troop withdrawals? “No timetable!” they keep screaming. “No timetable!” They keep saying they want to run things themselves, but then you say “Starting when?” and it’s the same thing all over again – “No timetable! No timetable!” I guess they heard Bush say it a bunch of times, and they figure they can say it, too. Great.

Do we have to write the thing for them? Nobody helped us write our constitution – we just figured it out for ourselves. But everybody around here wants to be top dog – the Shiites, the Sunnis, the Kurds – and of course they hate each other’s guts and they’ve only been hating each other’s guts for about a thousand years, and now all of a sudden they have to work together. They should have thought of that before we got here – are we supposed to be babysitters, too?

Don’t even start about the training.

Should we have kept their army together instead of breaking it up? I guess. Sure. But that’s Monday-morning quarterbacking. Besides, if the guys we got rid of weren’t any better than the guys we signed up, what’s the difference? They’d still get their heads handed to them.

Look, we can’t want it more than they do. We’re willing to make the sacrifices, but it has to be a two-way street. We can’t be having this stuff on the news every day – three Americans here, five Americans here, another one, another one – especially with next year being an election year. So we start sending our kids home. I mean, what are we supposed to do, stay here forever just because we haven’t won yet?

We got rid of Saddam for them – you’d think they’d be grateful. But all we hear is “Where’s the electricity?” and “Where’s the jobs?” and “You killed my brother.” We’ve given these people the greatest gift anybody can give them – democracy. If they don’t know what to do with it, it’s not our fault, is it?

Here’s what it comes down to: We can’t do everything for these people. At least we gave them a chance. A lot of countries would kill for the chance we gave them. So if it means they have to clean up the rubble themselves after we leave, fine – they’ll clean up the rubble themselves.

Like I said, we’re a patient country. We’re just not patient for very long.

Rick Horowitz is a nationally syndicated columnist. Contact him by writing to rickhoro@execpc.com.

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