http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201005070049 Nation building is so important. Not because it will be the US fulfilling its neo-colonial dreams, but because providing basic infrastructure, education, and welfare can lead to the citizens having a better life. Extreme poverty and turmoil very easily makes people do things they wouldn't do. Demonizing the US is very easy because of the nature of how they went into the region. As long as the US continues to focus on the military and combat side of things, the situation will not become any better. Don't get me wrong, I agree that nation building is expensive, and it's a long haul commitment that the US has more or less pledged to take on because it is in their own security interests, but I do feel that a different initial approach would have had a profound difference on the cost of this war on terror, both in human and capital costs.
The one thing that really makes me laugh is Sean Hannity's suggestion that the Iraqis pay back the US for liberating them. I understand perhaps Sadam was doing some stuff that should have been stopped, but the fact is the country is in so much turmoil from this operation that even if Iraq had money, it would be better spent on "winning the hearts and minds of the people." Investing in Iraq is important, but the challenge is daunting, because you will never be able to secure one country without also securing its neighbors. There's a lot of things missing in a country like Iraq, and while it is not all the US's fault, it is important to understand why you are spending, as the guest claims 47 cents to the dollar, on nation building. If you didn't spend that money, the instability of the area, and the threat of terror to the West would increase substantially.
Bringing it home, for Canada. I think what we're doing is great, but I think we really have to remember that Iraq and the other countries we're operating in should be seen as humanitarian/peace keeping missions, not as military missions. Nation building is expensive, and we're all paying the cost, but I have a feeling the costs would be much higher if we didn't do anything. I think the US realizes that without nation building, the area risks destabilization, and that just means more security threats can continue to pop up from that region. Remember, broken states serve as the perfect staging ground for recklessness, regardless of creed.