By Brian Doherty and Angela Keaton
This was a key document in a rejected version of U.S. plans for Iraq. It was found, damp, crumbled in a State Department trash can.
- Dear Iraq:
When I decided that we belonged together, I had the best intentions. Our relationship was never about control for me. I truly believe that if you love something, you ought to set it free.
I could see that Saddam was bad for you. You weren’t happy with him. He was abusive, he was controlling, and there’s no way you were better off with him than with me—though I slowly started to notice, you certainly seemed calmer with him than you have with me.
This is hard for me to admit. I’ve invested so much in this relationship—time, money, my highest ideals. But I’ve come to realize there’s a lot wrong with our relationship. Face it: we’ve become a seriously high-conflict couple. I never wanted to admit how violent our relationship had become. I thought it was just a phase, and that things would change if I just showed you how much I cared, how much I was willing to bleed to make this work.
But I’ve had some good advice lately from friends, and I even consulted some professionals who gave me a more objective outlook on what’s been going on between us.
They helped me see something I was afraid to face. I thought it was my duty to put up with how crazy things had gotten. I thought it was my fault, that I had to stick with you no matter how awful the relationship was for us both. Some serious co-dependency is at play here, Iraq. Despite my best intentions, we continue to bring out the worst in each other.
And before you throw it in my face, I’ll admit it—there are other countries in the picture. You know I’ve always had a Prince Charming complex. I’m obsessed with finding countries in trouble, whether they were too weak or too self-destructive, and saving them, somehow. The more messed-up and bad boy a country is, the more I think I have to get involved. But it’s a very expensive habit, and the strain on me from it is really starting to show.
I’m sure now that Iran and Korea have something you just don’t have. I truly believed you had it. And frankly, I think you lead me on into thinking you did, but you never really had the WMDs I was looking for.
So, it’s over. While I’m sure it will be hard to stop warring with you entirely, I just don’t feel like I want to be at war with you anymore.
It’s not you—it’s me. You deserve someone better, someone more willing to deal with all the turmoil of a relationship over a lifetime. A country that’s closer to you, maybe, who can give you attention that our long-distance relationship can never provide. Maybe you can even hook up with a whole coalition of nations? Could be fun!
You’re going to tell me that someday I’ll regret leaving you. You might be right. But all I know is, I have to find myself again, get back to the America I used to be.
And not to be a jerk, but we have to talk about splitting the property. We both know I paid for most of the military….
Hey, don’t be that way. I didn’t want to be mean about this. But honestly: Get your insurgents out of my face, Iraq. I’m saying goodbye.
Brian Doherty is a senior editor at Reason and author of Radicals for Capitalism. Angela Keaton is the executive director of the Libertarian Party of California.