The Kurds: 'Be Friends with Your Friends'

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Opinion The Kurds: 'Be Friends with Your Friends' 

Februray 21, 2007 -  Huntington News - Editorial 

 Years ago under another Bush administration, the Kurds of Northern Iraq bravely answered the call of the American President when he told them to rise up and topple Saddam following the tyrant's eviction from Kuwait.  In a page out of the Bay of Pigs, the Americans were nowhere to be found after egging on those who were their allies. A crippled Saddam Hussein was still strong enough to mow down the Kurds with great ferocity, and the Americans let it happen.  Now the brothers and sons of those brave Kurds have been fighting with us in our War on Terror in Iraq. Many of them would like to have an independent "Kurdistan," set apart from the rest of Iraq, with Sunnis and Shiites killing each other off every week in their emerging civil war. Who can blame them for wanting to get out of a dysfunctional situation like that?  However, the Turks worry about an independent Kurdistan. They have an ethnic Kurd minority near the border with Iraq, and the Turks can see a fight brewing as their Kurds want to unite that part of Turkey with a greater Kurdistan.  Turkey's anxiety, the Kurds' nationalistic hopes, and the United States' quagmire in Iraq's civil war may all come together to develop an exceptional plan that would the needs of all those involved -- except the non-Kurdish Iraqis. 

If the United States withdrew its forces from the emerging civil war and planted them in the far safer soil of the Kurdish people in Northern Iraq, they could:  1. Get out of the way of a brutal civil war; 2. Help the Kurds develop their own region in relative calm; 3. Assure the Turks that no "Greater Kurdistan" is in the offing, so long as the U.S. is there.  My word! Is this a solution that would actually make a huge Islamic nation like Turkey happy that we have a presence in their backyard? Will wonders never cease?  If the civil war in Iraq could be prevented, then we should stay and do what we can. But if it's inevitable, we should at least make up for running away from our Kurdish friends the first time, securing them from the spillover of the civil war.  A wise man once said, "Be friends with your friends." Helping the Kurdish people would not only be strategically smart but morally justified about now. A more fitting way for the Bush family to clean up some of its errors before 2008 would be hard to imagine. Good karma 

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