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Seems pretty easy to me. The Brits did it.

Posted by Sirkowski | March 28, 2008 11:03 AM

Oh come on, Annie. Everybody knows that Sarah is a bitch.

Posted by Mr. Poe | March 28, 2008 11:05 AM

Annie, I hear you, BELIEVE ME, I hear ya, but ... we can't afford this war. That's the beginning and the end. We have to pull out and sooner rather than later because we just can't afford to pay for it.

I think we should offer amnesty to basically any Iraqi who wants it, and then get the hell out of there. Is the country going to explode into civil war? Yes. Is it our fault? Yes. Is there anything we can do at this point? In my opinion, unless we're prepared to stay there for the next 100 years, a la McCain ... not so much.

But if you have some ideas for how we can afford to keep paying for the war, I would sincerely love to hear them.

Posted by arduous | March 28, 2008 11:10 AM

But, Annie, since exactly zero of the developmental conditions for moving forward have been met, in Basra or in Baghdad, what reason is there to think that the violence wouldn't happen anyways? The fake "surge" accomplished nothing but stasis, but NOTHING is actually happening politically in Iraq. Unless you foresee a hundred-year occupation like McCain, we're going to have to let go sometime; and whether it's tomorrow or 99 years from now, the result is going to be exactly the same.

And in the meantime, the war is destroying the United States economy, exactly as bin Laden dreamed. We can't go on; it's killing us, quite apart from anything happening to our soldiers. Seriously, the Iraq War = Global Depression.

The Brits were realists, that's all.

Posted by Fnarf | March 28, 2008 11:14 AM

@3 and @4 win, even if @4 isn't 100 percent correct.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 28, 2008 11:18 AM


The argument in favor of staying seems to be based on the (demonstrably false) idea that keeping our troops there will make things better when--by every conceivable measure--the Iraqis are far worse off than before our invasion.

But don't worry, it's painfully obvious that we're gonna be staying no matter what happens, even though this illegal, evil war/occupation has dragged our country into a moral abyss that we won't be crawling out of in our lifetimes.

And FSM help us, the Iraq news is going to be the same next year, and the year after that, and five years from now.

P.S. Someone once wrote that lefty war supporters are liberal fascists, and they're so wrong:

War/occupation supporters are actually neo-colonial imperialists, just fyi.

Posted by Original Andrew | March 28, 2008 11:24 AM

@6: I was against the invasion. It is demonstrably true that Iraqis were better off with a stable though oppressive government; it does not follow that they will be better off when we leave them without a stable or oppressive government.

Posted by annie | March 28, 2008 11:36 AM

Leave now and let them get on with their business. At this point, the future of Iraq should be decided by Iraqis and no one else, for better or for worse. If we owe them anything, it's an end to our occupation of their country.

Posted by Hernandez | March 28, 2008 11:53 AM

Well, by that logic we oughta dig in for John McCain's 100(0) year war. Fuck that.

Hint - there was violence when we left Vietnam, too. They seem largely to have gotten over that now, which would never have occurred if we were still occupying them.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Posted by Mr. X | March 28, 2008 11:55 AM

Annie @ 7,

That's based on the idea that we're even capable of helping them form a stable government, which clearly we're not. In contrast to the propaganda, that's not even one of our real goals.

And Al-Maliki is nothing more than Mayor of the Green Zone.

So many legislators have quit the Iraqi parliament that they can't even hold a quorum to pass legislation which is why Al-Maliki's cabinet has been unilaterally negotiating deals--like recently giving away the country's oil to the international oil companies for free as well as indefinitely extending the occupation--without the ratification of the parliament.

These actions are unconstitutional and illegal under Iraqi law, so either their current government is corrupt and dysfunctional or their constitution is an even bigger sham than ours.

Regardless, keeping our soldiers there to prop up a puppet government just isn't gonna help.

Posted by Original Andrew | March 28, 2008 11:59 AM

@7: the past is past. Saddam ain't coming back. What they have NOW is not provably better than what they would have if we left. Fewer people dying, yes, maybe, but the stasis we have "achieved" is gaining them nothing in the long run. Zero progress on infrastructure (reversal, actually); zero progress on settling the Kurdish oil question; zero progress on building a polity; zero progress on ANYTHING AT ALL.

Iraq is broken. I think it needs to break apart. We can't do that for them. Many people will die. Yes, it's our fault.

Posted by Fnarf | March 28, 2008 12:04 PM


I seriously doubt it was free. I'm sure al Maliki and his cabinet members were paid very handsomely.

Posted by keshmeshi | March 28, 2008 12:17 PM

Au contraire, Annie. This is not random violence that could be avoided with a greater US/British presence. This is violence caused by the US presence. This is a battle between the two leading Shia parties. One controls the government, the other controls Basra, where the Brits were never really in charge, btw. The government is launching a military invasion of Basra.

The US is siding with the government, and providing aerial support for their military campaign.

If the US wasn’t in Iraq, the Iraqi government wouldn’t dare attack Basra, because they don’t have enough power without US support. They would have to acknowledge the facts on the ground and negotiate with the other leading Shia party in a power-sharing agreement.

Posted by BB | March 28, 2008 12:59 PM

At this point we need to have a sit down with al-Sadr. He is running the show. He was responsible for the violence drop and he is (or part of his crew splintering off) is responsible for the raise in violent attacks. It didn't have to be like this, but we decided to cross Sistani and allow Chalabi and al-Maliki (basically outsiders) to turn the Interior Ministry into their own little army that keeps all money sent to Iraq and kill anybody that tries to talk about it.

Posted by Shawn Fassett | March 28, 2008 1:02 PM

How many times do I have to say it? Fuck the Iraqis. Yes, we got them into this mess, but until they show the political will to get the fuck out of it, it won't get better, and right now, they seem more than content to fight for power. So let them. Get our troops, our money, and our effort out of there, and let them fight it out til someone wins. It's not like there isn't precedent.

We allowed over a hundred coups in South Vietnam and let the Vietnamese fill the power vacuum until the North came in and ended it altogether.

We pulled Marines out of Lebanon after a mere 300 died and let that civil war fester for more than a decade.

We pulled out of Somalia and that civil war is still in progress, except in the relatively stable Puntland and Somaliland regions.

So, already we've said fuck the Vietnamese, fuck the Lebanese, and fuck the Somalis. And I say good. Now let's say fuck the Iraqis, and be prepared to recognize al-Sadr as soon as he wins. Hell, once we pull out, let's give him guns. That way, once he does win, he'll like us better.

Posted by Gitai | March 28, 2008 1:12 PM

Oh great!

The military just dropped charges against another Marine in the Haditha massacre.

The youngest victim of our troops "help" that day was a one year old baby who they shot at point blank range, by the way.

Welcome to Iraq where you can murder all the brown people you want.

Posted by Original Andrew | March 28, 2008 1:24 PM

Troops out now! (Gee, that was easy.) The only alternative is eternal occupation. Say it with me now, Annie: "Eternal occupation! Huzzah!"

Posted by bobbo | March 28, 2008 2:43 PM
Hell, once we pull out, let's give him guns. That way, once he does win, he'll like us better.

Yeah, because that worked so well with al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Posted by keshmeshi | March 28, 2008 3:28 PM

I say we stick with it another five years until the South Vietnamese Army is trained ... Vietnamization will work!

Exporting democracy may be hard, exporting political will is impossible.

It's our fault, but it's their country.

Our charging around pointing guns at people, no matter what pretty stories we tell ourselves, tends to be perceived as us telling people what to do to get what we want. Not that we want anything in Basra. Other than it being an important city near the Gulf (tankers meet pipeines) or perhaps useful for a port/logistics base during the invasion of Iran.

Posted by CP | March 28, 2008 6:05 PM

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