Friday, December 23, 2005

Are we encouraging Mexican immigration, too?

I regularly hear suggestions from Iraqis that Americans have ulterior motives in their country. The evidence that is most often raised is the state of Iraq's borders and the presence of the insurgency. Under Saddam, Iraq's borders were secure. It was difficult to enter from Iran and there were no infiltrators from Syria. Because America is the most powerful country in the world, the argument goes, it is surely capable of securing Iraq's borders. As America has not been able to secure Iraq's borders, it must have an interest in allowing the insurgents to flow into Iraq. The conclusion is that America is promoting instability in Iraq.

A few nights ago, I had a conversation with some Canadians who believed something similar. The reason that US forces were not able to secure the borders was because the US government lacked will, not ability. America does not appreciate how important Iraq is, they said. If the US did understand the importance of Iraq, more troops would be deployed, the borders would be secured, and the insurgency would be killed.

I have heard accounts about how easy it is to cross from Iraq to Syria. Iraqis who have made the journey tell me that with a little planning you could stash most anything in truck and carry it into Iraq, including bomb parts.

I haven't travelled to Iraq overland, but a quick glance at any map shows how vast Iraq's borders are. When I hear these arguments, I listen. I sometimes point out that Iraq was a police state under Saddam. Infiltrators would be limited in what they could attack even if they were able to enter the country.


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