I'll grant you and Packer your points. But I hasten to add that the trial balloons emanating from the administration (go long, go big, etc) point to a foreign policy utterly adrift. And things are getting worse in Afghanistan too.
As others have pointed out, there are two basic choices--stay or go. Once you decide to go, that doesn't mean everyone gets on a plane right away. It could take a year or even two years.
But the basic decision has to be made to go. The administration is still trying to find an excuse to stay, and things are getting steadily worse. We could still find ourselves in the midst of a full-scale sectarian civil war, with our troops hunkered down in bases making short forays for very specific purposes.
The WaPo had an informative article a few days ago by Thomas Ricks about how badly the training of Iraqi security forces has gone. And it's hard to imagine improving that effort as things deteriorate in Iraq.
The wingnuts come up with ideas like "we need to kill Sadr" and stuff. Which would improve things about as much capturing Saddam did. The wingnuts are beyond clueless about Iraq, as always.
Democrats must be forceful on the issue of the Iraq fiasco--if they weasel out and allow the administration to continue an open-ended committment, 2008 could get very ugly. Progressives have largely displayed a huge amount of political patience with the failed war policy; enough is enough.
So put in the "go" camp, "nowish" if you wish. If we get started now we might somehow, some way extract ourselves before another four years go by.
Meant to type "so put me in the "go" camp..."
I’ve asked this before and I’ll ask again:
How long will the war last?
How much will it cost?
Will anyone EVER be held responsible for the lies and mismanagement of this war?
How many will die? We killed 2,000,000 plus Vietnamese and 58,000 plus American soldiers in the 10 year Vietnam War, and we still lost.
No one will even touch any of these questions.
I might add that my brother joined the National Guard this fall against all logic and pleading and will probably be shipped off to Iraq in late spring or early summer. This is a real war and real people are dying.
Could the escaltion of violence and deaths be a byproduct of drawn-down forces in these respective burgs?
I'll say it again: Fuck the Iraqis. It's their goddamn country for real now. If it's a shithole, they can't blame any single dictator and his vast apparatus of Stalinist control. They can blame their own popular militias, almost all of which have official representation in their democratically elected parliament. It's not possible to impose our democracy on them by force, and we actually can't impose peace on them through force either. They've got to find their own damn solution, because short of partitioning them into three states, enforcing migration to their respective states, and then preventing any migration or infiltration of soldiers (because that's what they are now, not insurgents) between the Shia and Sunni states, there ain't shit we can do to bring about peace. Now, seeing as they're going to do all that anyhow, I say we get our troops and our money out of there til Kurdistan, Sumer, and the Sunni state decide that they want peace. At that point, we can send in engineers and lots of money.
Even that retard Reagan figured out that getting involved in Lebanon's civil war was a bad idea after the deaths of just a few hundred Marines.
The violence is the worst in Baghdad, which is the most occupied part of the country.
"But I strongly oppose any attempt to equate anti-war sentiment with advocacy of immediate withdrawal"
So ... you're anti-war but pro-occupation? I'm impressed - that's a very fine hair to split.
OK - Annie, Gomez - it is insufficient to simply point out that we have some moral obligation to stay, or to speculate that it might get worse there if we do. You have to commit to some idea of what exactly we should attempt there - aside from killing and dying.
Because we're still there, and things are still getting worse. That was a nice round of car-bombs yesterday, and then the mosque-burning reprisals ... a record-setting pace, if the papers are to be believed. Is it your idea that we stay there so things don't get bad too quickly? Because our continued presence does not seem to be halting the decline.
"wherever American troop levels have been reduced—in Falluja and Mosul in 2004, in Tal Afar in 2005, in Baghdad in 2006—security has deteriorated ... that civilians not comply with the orders of the Army or police on nightly patrols unless they are accompanied by coalition forces working in that area."
What the above doesn't address is that the "reduced" troops did not leave Iraq, they were redeployed to address other security concerns. They've been shifting around Iraq in a game of wack-an-insurgent. The quoted article then goes on to point out that there is now an open admission that there is no legitimate civil authority other than the "coalition" forces.
So you cannot simply state we must stay until things get better. You have to explain how you expect them to get better. If you intend to keep Iraq unified, you have to explain where we will get the necessary troops - remember to allow for steeply increased rates of attrition being reported as soldiers face their third and fourth tours. Are you also anti-war but pro-draft?
And don't forget to leave a tactical reserve for whatever else might come up - like a city flooding in the aftermath of a hurricane.
If you suggest that we partition Iraq, you must address how you expect to sell a Khurdistan to Turkey and Syria, how you will establish borders, shift massive numbers of people peacefully, and address that the oil reserves under these states will not be evenly distributed. And unless you're arguing that we can accomplish this with our current forces, you'll have to address the previous questions as well.
And in addition to these - or some other amalgam you proffer - remember that the Republicans are going to be primarily concerned with the 2008 elections, and the decisions and their implementation will be made with that concern paramount. For example, do you suggest that Republicans will be able to sell the partition plan as a free and peaceful Iraq?
In short - you can't simply recycle the arguments against the war as arguments against withdrawal. You have to throw in with a solution.
If we leave Iraq, there will be chaos. Everyone says so, right?
Iraq has enough problems: daily assassinations, sniper attacks, roadside bombs, looting, crime, ethnic cleansing, disease, destroyed infrastructure, and unemployment. The last thing anybody wants to see on top of all that is chaos.
Not to be cynical.
A la 'The Wire', this seems like one of those 'shit-eating' situations that can't really be fixed at this point.
I saw a speech by the head of a security nonprofit in Afghanistan and Iraq the other day, and she said that the only thing that will regain Iraqis' confidence is for there to be genuine security there. There's a 'culture of impunity' that has turned everyone into an opportunist and enabled the warlords/religious crazies.
So for Iraq to really get better, there would have to be enough troops to genuinely guarantee security. That takes a massive committment, one we're not really willing to do, or competent enough to provide.
On the other hand, leaving just completely fucks the Iraqis over.
To me, just leaving them in the pile of shit we (mostly) created for them seems like the more cowardly option. Why not at least give security a real shot? Send more troops, Start training up Iraqis, make a legit Green Zone, etc. But maybe asking politicians to face reality is too much to ask these days.
I feel for the Iraqis - we've treated them horribly, with little in the way, if any, of post-invasion planning.
Further, most of our training of local indigenous security forces hasn't done much more than create targets or arm the various factions ready and willing to fight, most especially the Shia factions within Iraq.
But we have no one we can really talk to save for terms for withdrawl. No one with real power wants to talk to us under any other circumstances, and things are such that what matters, in the final analysis, is whether we will withdraw under heavy fire in the middle of a civil war or not.
So let's not kid ourselves...we're going, and we will go when the Iraqi factions that want to fight, most likely the Shia factions, say it's time to go.
I'm going to predict that in the end of all of this Iraq will pretty much belong to Iran.
And I hope it does. whocares. Someone has too be a majority and it seems the Iranians are. Besides it was them we went to liberate as they were the ones oppressed remember. So we might as well let them have it and get our troops out of there. The countries fucked and it isn't our fault. Those people couldn't run a fucking Ice cream parlor without kiling the staff over and over. Alas its hopeless lets leavem and let them figure out there future. The blood is on their hands not ours. We just ourage to exact their revenge on eachother. Thats how it works. Leave Rome to the Romans you know what I mean.
I meant to say we gave them the courage to step up and lead now its revenge and killing they want. So be it. We are not a nation of Borgs. We cannot assimilate anyone so leave rome to the romans no what i mean.
"...ethnic cleansing on a large scale, refugees pouring across Iraq’s borders, incursions by neighboring armies, and the slaughter of Iraqis who had joined the American project."
Andrew, I'll repeat the point: we've drawn down troop levels. That includes in Baghdad, the "most occupied part of Iraq." They're also working shorthanded, even if they have the most of anyone. Keep in mind it's also the nation's most populated city.
Not that simple to explain away.
Gomez - frankly I don't really understand the point to your post above. I guess you mean that when we move troops from one area to another, the violence get worse the places they aren't.
Which would be a useful observation if we were trying to see if it was the US military who was directly responsible for the violence. Lucky for them they would seem to have an alibi.
The point is that we do not have enough troops to secure Iraq - not that we don't have enough troops there, or that we 'lack the will' - we don't have enough troops period. Our military succeeded brilliantly at what it was supposed to do - and that's smash the Army of Iraq. This attempt at 'Nation Building' is failing, as such attempts have in the past. Note that these failures were referenced by candidate Bush in the election of 2000.
I keep pointing out that you pro-occupation types (you Gomez, and Annie) don't want the US to withdraw from Iraq - but you have no suggestions as to what the US should do differently to avert the continuing and worsening catastrophe.
I'll give you an example of what I mean. A solution would sound something like this:
1) Arrange for the current Iraqi government to hold a referendum and ask the US to withdraw.
2) The US forces withdraw to outlying areas - I'd suggest that we "pull back" into what is a de-facto Kurdistan - to keep the quarter-million-strong Turkish force currently staged on Iraq's northern border where it is.
3) Invite Iran and Syria to participate in the stabilization of the Iraqi government under a UN intervention - in exchange, arrange for the formal creation of Kurdistan.
4) Preserve US interests in the area by formalizing diplomatic ties with Kurdistan, and arrange for the permanent staging of US forces there - which is also the only way they won't get wiped out.
5) The portion of the US military that is pulled out of Iraq goes to Afghanistan, which is also a huge boondoggle, just not as large a one as Iraq.
So there you go. That's an example of what I've been asking you to come up with. I think it'd stand a better chance for success if we were to ITMFU (impeach the mother fucker already), but that is not a realistic expectation in this timeline.
Now feel free to pick apart my plan, but keep in mind that I'll be expecting you to present an alternative.
yeah, let the iraqis clean up their own shiite. America should leave iraq alone. Then it will become a shiitey country once all of the sunnis realize that they are waist deep in shiite and no longer have american troops to wipe them off. The united states is not the world's toilet paper to march around the world wiping out every piece of shiite. The shiites deserve iraq anyway. they are the holy shiite of the prophet mohammed himself. well, I am glad I never have to go to iraq. the only shiite that will ever cause me any pain is the one that I will have to squeeze out after eating a very spicy burrito
#17 hilarius....can i quote that?
The time has come for America to either shit or get off the pot.
If you support staying there to "fix" the problem, then you're saying we need a draft. If you don't actually support a draft, then you're not really supporting anything at all.
The troops we need are not going to come from extending/repeating tours of duty or scraping a few thousand here and there from other deployments. We need *several hundred thousand more soldiers* that we simply *do not have*.
If you are against the draft, then you are pro-withdrawl. If you're anti-withdrawl, you're pro-draft. There's no middle ground solution anymore.
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I'll grant you and Packer your points. But I hasten to add that the trial balloons emanating from the administration (go long, go big, etc) point to a foreign policy utterly adrift. And things are getting worse in Afghanistan too. I disagree go to http://www.apartments.waw.pl/
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