Monday Open Thread: Iraq Edition

So, time to bring up a touchy subject. I find myself straddling the two camps between “we broke it, and thus we must fix it” and “let’s get the hell out of there”. Basically it boils down to a hope that the surge works as expected and gives us the ability to make a pretty significant withdrawal, without appearing to be taking off with our tails between our legs, even if the situation we leave isn’t ideal. If I were in charge, I would make a withdrawal over maybe 2 1/2 years, province-by-province, all the while letting the Iraqi’s know that this is becoming their own responsibility.

I know this blog, from the contributors to the readers, spans pretty much all sides of the issue. So what are your thoughts? How and when would you like to see America leave Iraq (“never” is an acceptable option here, if you believe we need to work with the new Iraqi government to keep a presence in the region). What steps or metrics, if any, do you think need to be accomplished first?

  • Isaac

    We need to leave immediately; as quickly as can be done safely. I didn’t break it, I was opposed from the beginning, thus I feel I have no obligation to continue to fund it through my tax dollars.

  • TanGeng

    A slower withdrawal over 2 years is acceptable, but we shouldn’t stay any longer or set any real goals for Iraq.

    Besides, the everybody but the Kurds really want us to leave right now, and if it’s any indication of poorly we and the Iraqi government are managing the country. I have no doubt that civil war will break out in Iraq, but there is no sense in the United States army standing in between two factions firing bullets at eat other.

  • TerryP

    “we broke it, and thus we must fix it”

    The problem is in five years they have very little infrastucture rebuilt, in some places they have electricity for only a few hours a day. The oil is still only dripping, not flowing. We have done very little in fixing or rebuilding what we destroyed. That should have been the first thing we put our attention to. The problem is our military is very good at destroying things, but not putting them back to together. At this pace we could stay there fifty years and things still would not be rebuilt.

  • Chepe Noyon

    The sole argument for staying is that, when we leave, there will be a civil war and a bloodbath. That’s likely true. But what’s seldom recognized is that there is likely to be a civil war and a bloodbath WHENEVER we leave. The belief that our intervention is calming things down is unsupported by our experience there or by any realistic military projections. Thus, we can be pretty sure that there’s going to be a civil war there. All we control is when it happens. It appears that Mr. Bush wants to insure that this civil war takes place while a Democrat is President.

  • Jeff Molby

    You can put me down as “we broke it, and thus we must fix it…if it’s fixable.”

    And then when you consider how hard the administration has fought to avoid giving us any consisten numbers by which to measure progress, I’m not very optimistic that we’re making progress. At some point you have to stop trying to push water uphill.

  • UCrawford

    Immediately, as quickly as can safely be done. We don’t “own” Iraq, and while we’ve committed more than our share of screw-ups and utter stupidity there, the Iraqis are ultimately the ones responsible for their own destiny. We’ve provided the government there a cushion and they’ve produced nothing…no revenue sharing, no competent military or police force, no end to sectarian violence, no end to corruption. How many more Americans have to die while we wait for the Iraqis to do something they’ve never shown any indication they’re capable or even willing to accomplish?

    And make no mistake, this bloodshed would have taken place once Saddam died or left power anyway. He was the only thing holding that schizoid country together…the minute he was gone civil war would have been the result. All we did was speed up the inevitable process, we didn’t cause it.

  • UCrawford

    Besides, as Ron Paul correctly pointed out, the people who say it’s going to be a bloodbath if we leave are the same ones who said it would be a cakewalk going in. Why believe them now? And, more importantly, why on Earth would we think that they’re going to be capable of fixing it if we leave our troops there, when they’ve been following the same fucking strategy for four years and accomplished nothing.

    The Bush administration cannot fix this…they’ve proven conclusively that they’re fucking incompetent. And Petraeus cannot fix this because he’s not the one determining policy or strategy…Bush is. Quit pretending that any of this is going to change, accept that A is A, and quit waiting for Bush to become something he clearly isn’t.

  • Joshua Holmes

    Leave completely and as quickly as possible. Impeach Bush & co. and remove from office. Arrest them and send them to a Iraqi War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. Give them a free and fair trial, then execute them.

  • Brian T. Traylor

    Place me firmly in the camp of, “let’s get the hell out of there, and quick.”

    What some seem not to understand is that you cannot force people to get along. Trying to form a unitary government with the ethnic divisions in Iraq is foolish – it has never worked, and will never work. The Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds have been fighting each other for centuries now. Who is silly enough to expect that because the United States showed up, deposed their dictator, and provided 4+ years of policing, that the hatred between these three groups of different ideologies and ethnicities will simply disappear? Ours is a fool’s errand, and the best thing to do is remove ourselves from their civil war.

  • VRB

    I am straddling the fence too. I say redeploy the Corp of Engineers to do whatever they can in Anbar Province and elseware; where it is too hot for civilians. If lives are going to be lost let it be trying to improve the infrastructure. Do this while the Sunnis are pissed at Al Qaeda. Stop the BS with trying to align ourselves politically with every Sunni that is in opposition to the terrorist. Train a Police Force and an Army. Take the recruits out of Iraq and train. Keep them out until there is a large enough force to replace our units. Encourage and support the local leaders, without trying to ram the Iraq government down their throat. Bring in the Iraqi troupes and leave. At this time I would think they should be able to be own their own. Let them make it or break it.

  • Rob

    Set a date for withdrawal consistent with a safe and reasonable exit. Then tell the Iraqis that they have until that date to settle differences. After that, they’ll have to fight about it. That way they can begin to negotiate now instead of just jockeying for position for the time when we leave even though nobody knows when that time is.

    Enter into negotiations with Iran,Turkey, Syria, and other bordering states to try to establish ground rules concerning interventions and border clashes.

    I don’t see how anyone in the libertarian community can be in favor of staying in Iraq. Who said, “War is the health of the state.”? We need to leave for the defense of OUR liberty. We have no ability whatsoever to bring liberty to other people.

  • Chris Kachouroff

    As long as it took to march in will be the time it takes to march out.

    See ya beat it.

  • UCrawford


    Actually withdrawal will take longer than going in, tactically speaking. Force protection in unresolved conflict is almost impossible with immediate withdrawal. It would have to go in stages, otherwise you’d experience significant casualties as your forces depart. And that’s before you take into account the logistics of removing all the equipment we brought with us. A realistic withdrawal would likely take several months to implement, which is why I opted for “as soon as safely possible”.