While researching my book, In the Face of Jinn, in 1996 and 1997, I lived with Muslim villagers in Pakistan who I knew would give their lives to protect me, despite the fact that I’m an American woman. I also stayed along the border of Afghanistan and witnessed the Taliban’s oppression of the region. So as the U. S. and the British reacted to the horrors of 9/11 in 2001, I, like others, not the least of whom, the world community, condoned the action.
Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that the true goal of George W. Bush’s administration was to go into Iraq, and remove Saddam, virtually leaving Afghanistan, and Hamid Karzai, to fend off a chaotic tribal system that had probably been the impetus for the creation of the Taliban in the first place.
Familiar with the very cultural, if not, indigenous sectarian violence that has plagued the Muslim community for over fourteen centuries, it didn’t take a crystal ball to predict that Iraq, without a serious post- Saddam plan of a sustained infrastructure, along with the collaboration of Sunni and Shia leaders, could ever yield an effective government body, much less a full-fledged democracy.
Sadly, I believe that civil war in Iraq is inevitable, and that it is vital that a timetable for a U.S. pullout happen sooner than later. It would not only signal the Muslim community, but also the world, that the U.S., although culpable in its initial course of action, can no longer serve as a scapegoat, or an excuse to “stand on the sidelines.”
Ironically, even with President Bush’s thick-fistedness and narrow vision that began in March of 2003, the calamity that, in my opinion, will ensue, with or without our withdrawal, may finally motivate the Middle East and the rest of the world to focus on an ancient feud that must be addressed.