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Leaving Iraq. More Powerful Arguments Against.

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there are some gambles that you just don't take. nation-building in iraq is definitely one of them

there are some gambles that you just don't take. nation-building in iraq is definitely one of them

Tom Ricks’ new book “The Gamble” is going to make some waves, and the author’s interview on NPR this morning is just the latest. This blog is an advocate of Obama leaving US troops in Iraq for the long term. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Obama is caught between a rock and a hard place in his Iraq policy. If he leaves he runs the risk of renewed violence after we’re gone. If he stays, he’ll be charged with breaking his promise to withdraw.

But facing the political heat at home in the short term would be far wiser than risking a bloodbath in Iraq after we close the door behind our last guys out, which will be bad news for US foreign policy and would cause an about turn from a fickle US public who’d suddenly tell him he should have stuck it out. Ricks makes the point in his NPR interview that he has ‘sympathy’ for Obama. Clearly, Bush left him with an intolerable mess and it will take superior leadership from our new Commander-in-chief to escape the jam with minimum damage. But in order to do so, hard choices have to be made. Obama has yet to prove he’s a tough choice kind of guy, despite his rhetoric to the contrary. Iraq is an arena that he has to get right.

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Written by coolrebel

March 4, 2009 at 10:49 am

Obama and Iraq – Now Comes The Hard Part.

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04/24/95_15.58_SAIGONViet Nam

saigon 1975. will it be different when we leave Iraq?

Ivan Watson, NPR’s Baghdad Correspondent was the target of an assassination attempt today when he and his team were nearly killed by a car bomb. And in recent weeks there has clearly been a spike in violence in Iraq. Let nobody say that the situation that war-torn country is anything close to peaceful.

And yet the next President is going to withdraw our troops. Not in victory, or in defeat, but ‘believing’ and ‘hoping’ that peace will break out when we’re gone. That’s a bet many wouldn’t make.

Obama staked his early rise to prominence on a speedy withdrawal from Iraq, and superficially, facts on the ground seem to bear him out. He’s committed to a “safe and responsible” withdrawal of US troops around sixteen months from taking office. He has the support of the Maliki government, and the vast majority of the Iraqi people want us gone. The Status of Forces agreement which mandates our withdrawal by the end of 2001 also provides us with some political cover too.

So what’s the problem? Simple. When we leave, there is simply no way we won’t be leaving a power vacuum in Iraq. Read the rest of this entry »

Iraq – Status Of Forces. Dangerous.

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time to go home

time to go home

So the United States will be out of Iraq by the end of 2011.

With the December 31 deadline on the UN Resolution allowing US forces to operate in Iraq only a few weeks away, Maliki simply ran out the clock forcing the US hand on a number of key issues, which in years past would have been unacceptable to US Forces operating overseas.

There is sure to be a phased reduction in combat operations. But the Bush plan for permanent bases in Iraq seems doomed. There was a lot of rending of hair about bases a couple of years back, but from a national security standpoint, they have a net benefit. While starting the Iraq war was clearly a strategic mistake in many ways, keeping bases on Iraqi soil would minimize the possibility of blow-back.

Now it’s a distinct possibility. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by coolrebel

November 21, 2008 at 10:22 am