Already, radical imams have been using anti-American rhetoric to forment protests against the US occupation of Iraq. Thosands of Iraqis have marched in Baghdad calling for the imposition of an Islamic state under shari’a.
It is absolutely crucial that the US not listen to them.
While that may seem heartless, if we give the Iraqis full control of their country in a matter of weeks everything that has been done will have been for naught. The protestors will get their Islamic government, and any hopes of an Iraqi democracy will be smashed. The imposition of shari’a would make life worse for many Iraqis – especially Iraqi women, who enjoy a more liberated lifestyle than in many Arab nations.
This is a time in which the the judicious use of "democratic imperialism" is necessary. While the usual suspects from the far left and the far right will cry "pax Americana", the reality of the situation is that we cannot afford to do this in a half-assed manner. If we submit to the will of the mob, Iraq will have a government of the mob and will quickly slide into anarchy.
We have now committed ourselves to the rebuilding of Iraq, a process that cannot be done in weeks, months, or even just a few years. If we fail to show true commitment to the reconstruction of a democratic Iraq, then we have ultimately failed to win the war. The Arab street is as easily moved by thoughts of peace and prosperity as it is by calls to death and jihad. If we give the fanatics what they want, it will only breed more fanatics. The liberation of Iraq is an important goal, and one that the United States and coalition forces must be willing to complete, no matter how long it may take.