Saturday, March 17, 2007

On St. Patrick’s Day My Thoughts Turn to the Ending of a War

I wondered about the pull that British voters have over their government in a previous posting. They have something in their laws that we don’t have: a “No Confidence” vote. A similar “No Confidence” vote was cast in Austin this past week by the Joint Select Committee investigating the abuses at Texas Youth Commission sites. It didn’t appear to have any effect until they all resigned en masse yesterday.

58% of Americans want the US out of Iraq. But I wonder, would we get these 58% to cast a vote of no confidence? I wonder how many would see this as a vote in support of the troops as opposed to a withdrawal of support. That seems to be the logic and reasoning of some of the conservative Democrats in Washington DC.

I am thinking about this today because today, on St. Patrick’s day, I just realized another reason that the British declared victory and got out of Iraq when they did. They are just fresh off of a little civil war that they had on their hands in Northern Ireland. That little war, euphemistically called “The Troubles” lasted, some say, for 37 years.

No wonder they wanted out when they did. What with Bush saying that this war will be won by the next president.

There are similarities between the civil war in Northern Ireland and the one in Iraq. Just as the Iraq civil was is a war between Sunni and Shia factions of the Muslim religion, the war in Northern Ireland was primarily a war between two factions of the Christian religion, Protestants and Catholics. It was also a class war with rich and powerful Protestants oppressing poor Catholics, just as Sunni were the rich ones in power during Sadam’s reign, and Shia were the oppressed. One difference is that while the Sunnis, a minority in Iraq, were the powerful oppressors, it was the Protestant majority that was the oppressors in Northern Ireland.

They were able to keep their little war going for 37 years, and there was nothing that the British occupation forces could do to stop it.

OK, so if there are so many similarities between these two civil wars, how did they finally end “The Troubles”? The reports that I read all point to one thing: everyone got tired of having a war so they just stopped. People started thinking that they could solve their differences constitutionally.

That’s what it’s going to take in Iraq, I think.

But I don’t think American soldiers need to be in there in the crossfire for another 33 years waiting for Sunnis, Shia and Kurds to get tired of whacking each other.

1 comment:

Van said...

You have to remember that it took the British to stop 4,000 years of the Irish fighting each other. They hated the British for taking everything and giving back nothing and leaving them with no resources. So when the potato famines came, those who survived, lived on boiled nettles. If we were to pull out of the Middle East, I don't think the Iraqi would stop fighting like the Irish did. But I don't think it should be our problem any more.