American and Iraqi troops have fought long and hard to triumph in Iraq. Now that they have done the bleeding, the European Union wants to muscle in on their success. We are told that “…the European Union intends to re-engage in the country without delay.”
But the EU is leaving itself an out, since this re-engagement (whatever that is) is linked to an improved security situation. As we are told by European diplomats: “At the moment, the country is probably still too insecure. But we’re starting the discussion now. The better things get, the more we can do.” And: “We are certainly concerned and we are thinking of ways of how to help stabilize the country…” So, “without delay” may really mean “never,” since perfect security is a pipe dream.
But in case the EU is serious, there are still useful things to be done. Here is a short list:
- recompense the American people for 60% of all war-related expenses,
- immediately assume all material, manpower and financial responsibility for helping rebuild the Iraqi civil infrastructure, with a target completion date of 2011,
- immediately assume military responsibility for securing the Iran-Iraq and Iraq-Syria borders, stopping all infiltration, so American and Iraqi forces can finish mopping up in country.
- continue adequate military support for Iraq as long as it is required if/when the Obama administration pulls out U.S. troops before the job is done and then cuts off all material support to Iraq so that Iraqi forces will not longer be able to operate effectively (cf. U.S. Congressional actions during the last years of the Vietnam struggle).
However, the most useful things for the EU to do are moral in nature.
First, the EU must publicly apologize to the Iraqi and American people for the EU’s lack of support to date, and publicly acknowledge that minor ideological differences with the U.S. administration are not a sufficient reason for evading solidarity in a struggle against terrorism and genocidal tyranny.
Second, the EU should finance a comprehensive study of how much more effectively the conflict in Iraq would have been fought, and how much shorter it would have been, had the EU done its moral duty and stuck with the coalition.