The Newsweek-Washington Post web site "On Faith" asked its panelists this question:
Some political leaders say we need to get out of Iraq now. Others say we are obligated to stay and try to restore civil order and authority. What's the moral position? Is there one?The answer I liked best came from Starhawk. I will not repeat her entire answer here, but this is part of what she wrote:
In Alcoholics Anonymous, they say that insanity is repeating the same acts and expecting different results. Having utterly failed to provide even minimal order and security to date, the Bush administration wants to stay on. Why? Iraq still has one of the world’s largest oil reserves. The proposed Iraqi oil law, one of the so-called ‘benchmarks’ of progress, would turn over control of the majority of Iraq’s oil resources to foreign corporations, with contracts highly favorable to corporate interests and no protection for Iraq’s workers or future generations. There is no morality in profiteering from the death and destruction of war.
The majority of Iraqis want us to go. Our presence exacerbates the sectarian divides, and fuels the fury of the insurgents. We can serve no moral purpose by continuing an immoral aftermath to a deceitfully conceived, ineptly conducted, failed and immoral war.
A moral course of action might be to declare a day of national penitence, when all of us—war supporters, and those of us who opposed the war but failed to stop it—fall on our knees and beg the forgiveness of the Iraqi people and the world at large. Better yet would be to remove the architects of these policies from every position of power so that they can devote the rest of their lives, and the fortunes they have gleaned, to works of restitution—changing the bedpans of wounded soldiers, for example, or educating Iraqi orphans.
Barring that, at minimum we can learn from this devastating mistake, and vow that the headiness of military power will never again seduce us with dreams of empire. We can return to being what the vast majority of Americans want to be: a real democracy, of worth, not wealth, that cares for its people and for those beyond its borders, that spreads freedom by example, not by the power of the gun and the bomb, that cherishes the children of all nations. Then the dead could know that their lives were not given in vain.