Friday, May 05, 2006

Immediate Withdrawal

There are plenty of people, across the political spectrum, that don’t favor an immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. On the Right, you have those who favor “staying the course” and completing the job because, “we’d rather fight them there, so we don’t have to fight them here.” That sentiment is mostly expressed by those still in support of our President, the last 33% that have had their blinders super-glued to their heads. It’s a stupid notion, but not any more stupid than the argument from the Left that goes something like, “we started this war, destroyed their country, we have to stay now to clean up the mess.” Really? How’s that going so far? Are the lights getting turned on, schools being built, peace being restored? The only thing being built is an American Embassy the size of The Vatican and permanent American military bases. As long as that is the case, we will continue to spur on the violence.

We are accomplishing nothing by staying. Our strategy has been flawed from the beginning and the plan to have “the Iraqi’s stand up, so that we can stand down” is more flawed logic from our failed leaders. Just watch the recently released video of the “graduating” Iraqi soldiers when they were told they were going to be sent to fight against their own. These soldiers are only there because they get a paycheck for the privilege of being trained by us. We have destroyed their economy, there are no jobs, what construction there is, is being done by US contractors and they’re certainly not using Iraqi labor or Iraqi materials, so all that’s left is signing on with the military. But signing up is one thing, fighting against your own countrymen is something altogether different.

We have to pull our troops out, the sooner the better, today would be good, hell, yesterday is ideal, because we cannot stabilize that country. We are the problem. It doesn’t matter that we caused the chaos in the first place, we can’t change that, and all we can do is say “sorry” and leave. Guilt is not a sufficient reason to stay and continue to subject the Iraqi people to our occupational presence. The damage is done, how can anyone justify causing further damage?

Our best bet is to pack up our troops, head home and as we’re leaving, drop all of the money that we’ve stolen from them out of the helicopters as we fly away. We can even take the money we would have spent on occupying Iraq for the next several years, and make weekly flyovers of dropped cash instead. We would certainly get a better bang for our buck and it would go a lot further in repairing the damage we’ve caused than it would if we continue on course. We have made a terrible mistake and we must not compound it by staying. The only reason for American troops to stay in Iraq is to attempt to legitimize the invasion, an exercise in futility if ever there was one. The sooner we recognize that, the better.

26 Comments:

Anonymous tony c. said...

I'm not sure I agree. First, there's little doubt that our departure will be accompanied by a bloody civil war along mostly sectarian and ethnic lines. The likely winners will be the Kurds and the Shiites. That kind of problem might invite other governments to participate, which isn't good for the global economy, let alone the innocent people in Iraq.

In any case, we're the author of the current calamity, as well as any future result in the event of a withdrawal. There is probably general agreement on the left that the United States is morally, if not legally, culpable for its activities there.

As such, I think we have a duty to maximize the opportunities for a beneficial result, or at least to minimize the damage.

While lots of people have suggested an immediate withdrawal, I have yet to see anyone describe how this would make the most of whatever opportunities exist in Iraq. It would be good to see some assessments of what all of our options are. I'm sure they don't all include immediate withdrawal, and I'm curious to see whether some of our options would have better results before I decide.

11:11 AM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Tony--I would agree with you that we should look to make the most of the opportunities in Iraq, if we had someone other than Bush in the White House. With this administration, anything they do over the next few years will only make matters worse, there is no way to get Bush to change course. That leaves only withdrawal in my mind.

The ideal solution would be to turn it over to the UN, get our contractors out of there and start hiring Iraqis to re-build their country, using local materials which would go a long way in boosting their decimated economy. But that is not going to happen, no matter how much public pressure is applied. Can you imagine protests centered around that idea, it's way too complicated.

The only answer at this point is to cut and run. Hopefully, that would open the door for the international community to go in and help. Our presence is not going to hold off a civil war if that's what is going to happen. If we stay, we'll just get caught in the crossfire when it does.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous tony c. said...

Okay. So it seems that we see eye to eye, more or less, except for implimentation. What we ought to do is something more substantive, but we can't really take advantage of better plans because the administration can't be trusted to execute anything properly (unless it involves giving war profits to private business).

There are some ways the Bush administration could manage this. First, involving the U.N. to provide a massive presence (on the order of what Shinseki and others suggested all along), or otherwise taking over. Alternatively, if we can come up with the force, actually handing the mission over to the military (instead of just saying that's what you've done) might also work.

But for godsake, don't call the liberal plan "cut and run." The liberals who founded our nation weren't cowards, and neither are we. We don't "cut and run." When we withdraw, we will advance to the rear. :-)

3:47 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Tony--Okay, but advance to the rear sounds so naughty.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

It seems what's not being talked about (not just by you, by practically everybody) is why BushCo & the neocons dragged us into the occupation to begin with and who buys into their rationale, because that's going to be the primary motivating force for a while. We know it wasn't about WMDs, Saddam, or spreading democracy. We also know that whatever the rationale, the Dems who know what it is (i.e. the "serious" or "electable" Dems, including the presidential contenders like Kerry & Clinton) have bought into it. And lastly, we know it has fuck-all to do with whether or not your average working stiff like you and me gets our legs blown off by terrorists or in a foreign desert (one of the last lucid things Christopher Hitchens ever said was "I wish people considered their leaders as expendable as they consider you.").

My personal pet theory is it had to do with controlling the petroleum fields, with a side benefit of creating a giant vortex to funnel federal tax dollars to Rethuglican cronies. Not "grabbing the oil so we could use it" -- controlling it. Making sure the brown/yellow horde can't get their hands on it when things get tight, and making sure the profits go to the oil companies that the administration is a front for. That's why we've built (at last count) over a dozen permanent military bases there, and why the largest "embassy" ever is the only construction project that's on schedule.

Clearly Cheney has no intention of leaving. And clearly the Dem leadership agrees with this. And, since nobody is addressing this, we are not leaving: Q.E.D.

That doesn't mean they won't pull American forces back behind the barricades and around the oil fields and let the rest of Iraq degenerate into full-scale chaos (and, BTW, there already is "a bloody civil war along mostly sectarian and ethnic lines" in Iraq, primarily because of the occupation), possibly dragging the rest of the Middle East along with it. Hell, I'd put money on their being at least a few lunatics in BushCo who want the rest of the Middle East to go up in flames. But it does mean that there's no chance in hell of Cheney or the Dems handing such a prime piece of geopolitical capital, not to mention the military and petroleum infrastructure, over to an international body they've already declared irrelevant (John Bolton as U.N. ambassador, anyone?). And, bottom line, it means that the Iraqis are well and truly fucked, and when all of the terrorists BushCo's been training over there start branching out, so are we.

But, really, we knew that from day one, didn't we.

5:32 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

GeoCrackr--I'm with you on your theory. I've long said that it was about controlling the spigot. Look what has happened to oil company profits once the spigot was turned off! They can now sell their product for more than they could before. I agree, it's less about "getting" the oil than it is controlling the supply.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Dale said...

I don't care anymore why we went to Iraq. It is no longer relevant.
I was against this war from the beginning. My kids got a hoot that I protested it in Feb 2003. Their view of their 50+ year old father was changed on that day.

I am opposed to the withdrawal of troops. Leaving Iraq is worse than going in to begin with. We have seriously reduced the quality of life for the average Iraqi. Go read the Iraqi blogs like Baghdad Dweller, Baghdad Burning, The Mesopotamian, Iraq the model, and any others you find. This place is a mess and the collective 'we' did it.
I suggest that we all hold ourselves to a higher standard of performance and find solutions that work.
It is dishonorable to leave, just like it was dishonorable to go in.
The milk has been spilt; time to clean it up.

5:04 AM  
Anonymous Betty Cracker said...

Dale, how can we clean up the milk if we ourselves are the leaky milk jug? (Okay, maybe I shouldn't have tried to extend your metaphor.)

I understand what you're saying, and I would agree if it were possible to somehow clean up the mess without doing more damage. But it seems to me we are creating more messes faster than we can clean up the existing ones.

A British military helicopter went down in Basra today, killing all aboard. Ordinary Iraqis surrounded the burning wreck and cheered. This was in the relatively peaceful southern province where there has been some progress in reconstruction and where people can carry on their daily lives with some semblance of normality.

I think the cheering crowd is emblematic of how much hatred the occupation has caused. Maybe if we get out, Iraq can begin to heal.

Will it devolve into sectarian violence? There is low level civil war already, and we are powerless to stop it. Will it be governed by radical theocrats if we leave? Unfortunately, it is already heading in that direction, and the police forces we are training and arming are infiltrated with Shiite militia members.

At least if we leave, no more of our people will needlessly die. We'll be implicated in the inevitable violence that ensues, but we are already, and there's not a damn thing we can do about that. Well, except try the lying bastards who hoodwinked us into the bloody, pointless mess as the war criminals they are.

5:18 AM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

geo,

thanks alot. I had to kill a half a day learning about Christopher Hitchens.

6:08 AM  
Anonymous jonathan said...

A lot of good points made in this thread. I genuinely enjoy and benefit from the discourse on this site.

Here is my take: The invasion of a middle eastern country was discussed during the Cheney energy task force meetings. They quickly made the determination that the best country to subjugate was Iraq. Iraq was chosen because of the amount of easily extracted high quality oil, the relative instability of the government there and the fact that the country was completely defenseless against us. Then the plans were laid for manufacturing an excuse to attack that country. Keep in mind that these meetings took place prior to 9/11. Not satisfied with controlling the second largest petroleum reserves in the world they thought they should enrich the defense and allied industries while they were at it. Hence the rapidity with which reconstruction and services contracts were agreed to in no bid contract mode to companies friendly to the administration.

What do we do now? Wish I really knew. How’s this for a first draft?: The first thing to do is get control of at least one house of Congress. Nothing substantive can happen before we do that – this administration clearly is unable to admit mistakes and change course. Then we need to get down on our hands and knees and beg the United Nations to take this mess off of our hands – right after Bolton is exiled to Siberia. If we have to triple our dues to the UN it would be well worth it. The UN is the only entity with even a chance of peacefully resolving this horrible situation we created.

Then after Bush and Cheney get out of office the trials can begin. They can be done here or at The Hague. Either way, Bush and dozens of people in his administration must be held accountable for their actions. If we do not prosecute these criminals other miscreants (in this country or another) will think they can get away with the same crimes.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Mark H. Foxwell said...

I quite agree with the "control the spigot" theory as one of the major reasons our country invaded Iraq. Another was that Iraq has after all been on the "to-do" list ever since Saddam invaded Kuwait.

But deeper than these specific reasons is that the American right is committed to war as a way of life, and its leaders have been longing for a nice big sustainable war to replace the Cold War--ever since the Berlin Wall came down. They hung on to hating Russia as long as they could, and perhaps we all recall how much China-baiting there was just before 9/11. But actually I believe that Bush Sr. very deliberately led Saddam Hussein to believe that invading Kuwait was OK by "us" back in 1990 precisely because _he_ knew he needed a big star-spangled war, that Panama had not cut it, and pounding away at his ally Iraq would about fit the bill. You may have noticed that since the collapse of the USSR, both Bushes have not been able to find more worthy foes to demonize to whip us up into war frenzy than their own former stooges.

It is all about empire; oil, strategic positions, finishing old business are strong considerations in deciding _where_ to strike, but this adminstration came into office, as Bush Sr's had done, determined to draw blood in a big way, and to strangle the "Vietnam syndrome" that Bush Sr cited in his 1989 inaugural address.

Basically our rulers know the world, under their not-so-wise (or perhaps smart but utterly selfish) guidance is headed for catastrophe, and rather than attempt to fix the mess they after all largely created they are building armored lifeboats for themselves and systematically sabotaging every potential rival for their places in them. Their foreign and domestic policies are all organized around the goal of their class surviving and prospering amid global ruin by militarizing us, in part by making us desperate and frightened and thus willing to sell ourselves cheap to their service in the hope of being favored with working positions in their camp.

And this is why I agree we _can't_ do any good in Iraq by staying, not as long as we continue to be ruled by the people who have been running the show. The Bushes are major villains in this, but just getting rid of them will change nothing as long as their replacements have essentially the same interests and allegiences. The best we got out of Clinton was eight years of stalling; none of our ruling class have yet offered an honest assessment of the mess we are in, let alone a plan for getting out of it without global holocaust.

We _owe_ the Iraqis a tremendous amount of useful help. But at this point we'd do well to restrain ourselves from doing more harm. About all we can do for the Iraqis at this time is get the hell out of their country before our dear leaders repackage their schemes for another cycle of deception.

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Dale said...

I am still not concerned about why we went in .

What do we do now? We need solutions in three areas: political control of the country, safety of citizens, and economic sustainability.
Like it or not, a federation of three states seems inevitable if we do not want civil war. I think we should move in that direction. The safety of citizens can only be accomplished by co-opting the local militias to protect their own populations. Economic stability can be accomplished through oil revenue sharing and trade between the states.
We should place more emphasis on the state level of politics than on the national level. We should run the national and international component for perhaps five years before turning it over to the Iraqi's.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

yellow dog -- Oh man, I'm sorry about that. I wouldn't wish that on a... well, on a dog.

Good points made by all.

Dale -- The reason(s) behind the invasion are important because they are still in play; the administration and the complicit Dems still believe they are valid, and see them as justification for continuing the occupation. Any proposals for moving forward will have to address them either through acceptance, or by explicitly repudiating them.

Your suggestions, which I think sound reasonable enough, are founded on implicit repudiation (sharing oil revenue; "turning it over to the Iraqi's"). The problem for all of us is that neither BushCo nor the Dem leadership agree with you.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

Well, well, well... here's your Democratic Party in action:

Clinton surprised Washington and media watchers recently by attending a FOX NEWS anniversary party, where she toasted Murdoch.

So... a party leader who toasts the head of the propaganda organ of the opposition party, an organ that played a key role in pushing the Saddam/9-11 "connection". Anybody else see a startling lack of judgment here?

I wouldn't bet a nickel on her prioritizing our citizenry over her friends' imperium.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

Gcrakr~

I'm far from being a Hilary supporter and, in fact, I'm very apprehensive about her.

Having said that, just what are some alternative explanations to her wanting to 'prioritize her friends imperium'?

Maybe she's just doing a McCain like scuttle to the right.

I realize from your previous posts that you place ideological purity over winning.

My guess, and I'm sure Republicans' fears, is that she is a playing a 'stealth liberal' strategy much like Bush's 'compassionate conservatism' sham.

If she were to win I have little doubt that she would roll back upper income tax cuts, tighten environmental regulations, up CAFE standards and throw money as a host of other liberal causes. Same with Gore if he runs and wins.

I'm fully prepared to act as cynically as I feel is necessary to replace this wingnutistanian regime, including taking Hilary's overtures to the Right worth a grain.

You can stand on the sideline and cry about missed opportunities for
'visionary statements',
shameless, and patently insincere, overtures to the Right,
or applaud Pelosi's misjudgment in stating that her impending Majority Speaker's roll will include
investigations of the Rethugs.(I realize that I MAY have created a straw man with that Pelosi remark, however it's not inconsistent with your repeated insistences that Dems wave their liberal flags heedless of consequences.)

The 'consequences' of the last six years are sufficient for me to take a more hard headed look at what it will take to win.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

Dale, for a while now you've mistaken me for that long-haired-vegan-hippy-pacifist-idealogue straw man you've got stuck in your head, and I'm getting pretty tired of it. So let's take a look at those "consequences" you seem today to be so fond of:

1994 - The Dems, after passing NAFTA, get their asses handed to them in Congressional elections when working class shlubs realize the Dems no longer represent them, so they might as well vote on "values" as that's the only difference they can see between the two parties. Rethugs start running immediately to the extreme right, Dems immediately give chase.

1996 - Dems fail to retake Congress despite aggressive pandering to mythical swing voter. Clinton re-elected by force of personality.

1998 - Dems fail to retake Congress despite joining Rethugs in demonization and impeachment of popular president.

2000 - Dems fail to retake Congress despite aggressive pandering to mythical swing voter. Gore accepts religious fundamentalist as running mate, follows Dem campaign strategists' advice resulting in failure to motivate base, culminating in SCOTUS coup d'etat. Jim Jeffords heroically changes party affiliation in vain effort to forestall far-right swing by two branches of federal government - Senate Dems spit in his face.

2002 - Dems lose big despite aggressive pandering to mythical swing voter by voting for the USAPATRIOT Act and condoning the preznit's decision to mass-murder thousands of innocent brown people who happen to be sitting on one of the world's largest petroleum reserves.

2004 - Dems fail to retake Congress despite aggressive pandering to mythical swing voter. Ignoring repeated advanced warnings of signs of electoral corruption in Ohio & Florida and countless reports of "voting irregularities" on election day, "the most electable candidate" Kerry rolls over on the day after the election and begs Rethugs to stop kicking him.

There's your consequences. Now, you can continue your faith-based insistence that Hil is just the modern Al Gore in a dress, despite any evidence to that effect and plenty of evidence to the contrary. Or you can stop being such a patronizing prick and take a long hard look at where your "practical cynicism" has gotten us.

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

Gcrakr!

You neglected to point out exactly where your 'long-haired-vegan-hippy-pacifist-idealogue' rants have 'taken us'.

Or did they just begin with your visits to this blog?

Your own comments reek of patronizing vitriol toward all who disagree with you.

Gonna sit the next presidential election out because your self righteous, purist standards aren't met, you whining, crybaby prick?

8:23 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

Dale:

BANG! The "I know you are but what am I" defense ONCE AGAIN! Witness the fourth grade retort in action, ladies and gentlemen!

You know, ad hominem attacks in lieu of addressing the facts are one of the standard tactics of the wingnutistanians -- you wouldn't be letting your true colors show, would you?

For my part, I would just like to point out that my rants haven't taken us anywhere since the Dems have run screaming from their base for the last decade and have done everything in their power to repudiate us, as I illustrated in my previous post. Besides that, I'll let Digby do the talking, since he pegged you today:

Many of my fellow baby boomer liberals believe that the country recoils from extremes and they are right. But they are stuck in a time warp. They don't see that in 2006, the extremes don't look like this; They look like this.

Coincidentally, his next post spends a few paragraphs taking down your fellow lazy-thinker Richard Cohen, who, like you, seems to have internalized "a schizopherenic vision of liberals --- wingnut radio says we are shrieking hippie communists who 'smell' (a common rightwing moronic slogan) while the mainstream media reveres milquetoast apologists whom nobody really understands or respects except the beltway establishment."

9:47 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

p.s. It seems that, like Digby, a lot of people are pointing today to Will Bunch's claim that I am, in fact, a member of the new silent majority. I'm just not being so silent about it.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

p.p.s. I can't make this shit up!

Commenting on Mr Murdoch's decision to host a fundraiser for her Senate-election campaign, Mrs Clinton said: "He's my constituent and I'm very gratified that he thinks I'm doing a good job."

If she only cared what her actual voting constituents think...

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

"You know, ad hominem attacks in lieu of addressing the facts are one of the standard tactics of the wingnutistanians -- you wouldn't be letting your true colors show, would you?"

G crkr, I believe you were the one to lower the bar and initiate the ad hominens with this: "Or you can stop being such a patronizing prick and take a long hard look at where your "practical cynicism" has gotten us.

As for the rest of it the only thing you've 'pegged' is yourself, as an intemperate cry baby.

Sorry you feel so 'repudiated' and thanks for illustrating why!

8:33 AM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

Hooboy! I sure touched a nerve with you today. You might want to tend to that.

Since you have moved on to the "you started it" stage of the 4th grade debate structure, I'll take the opportunity to point out that I was engaging in a perfectly civilized discussion until you interjected with your condescending accusations that I conform to some straw-man crying ideological purist that you like to argue against. I'll also point out that I've presented plenty of evidence demonstrating how your lazy thinking ignores the blatantly obvious (and when it gets right down to it, that's what I'm really "intemperate" about), while all you've done is attempt to dismiss me as your "cry-baby" straw-man.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

"Perfectly civilized..." my ass!

Your comments reek of patronizing put downs for all who disagree with you.

Your overreactions are pathetic across a wide range of topics. Recall the Earth Day tantrum?

Why don't we just agree that there is no possible Democratic Presidential '08 ticket that you will be able to support, that for all the reasons we rail about at this site the Dems will win, that you will not be sanguine about the prospects for any improvement in our Country's prospects simply because the new Admin will not be able to satisfy your somewhat lengthy list of litmus tests, and that is the heart of the matter RE all of your rants.

I didn't 'attempt' to dismiss you as a crybaby I actually succeeded, with plenty of help from you.

Tend to your own obtuseness, case of 'nerves' and pyschological projection issues you so regularly trot out for the amusement of those us with normal levels of self awareness!

Go back and read your rants. It's not a straw man that I level my charges of
infantile, ideological purist at. It's you, in all your foot stomping...I'm gonna take my bat and ball and go home cause I don't like the way the game is played, or the any of the players, or the ball park.... ignominious glory.

Your so called 'evidence' is subject to different interpretations.

A smart 4th grader would recognize that fact.

By the way, I'm getting from your 4th grader references that that time in your life was particularly trying for you.

Get over it!

2:05 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

Yes, yes, we all know about your reading comprehension problems -- you really don't have to keep demonstrating them for us.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

Wow! Full circle. That's what I meant about lack of 'self awareness'.

Trust me on this. I have no trouble comprehending what you write and what you convey. You have the arrogance of one who thinks he's the sharpest knife in the drawer. However, every now and again you find yourself in a larger drawer and your intellect seems more butter knifey.

Can't rebut the truth when it slaps you in the face?

Keeping the metaphor running, did my remarks about your stance on the Dem ticket or a Dem victory cut to close to the bone?

I remember how you tried to 'instruct' 'The Him' in one of your lengthy, albeit unsuccessful, lectures on
'what he meant' or what 'he thought he meant'. Laugable
and prophetic as to your rhetorical tactics.

3:14 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Dale & GeoCrackr--Alright you two pricks, no name calling (I guess I’m the 4th grade teacher today). As for the rest of it, proceed, but less pissing and more substance would probably be more effective.

This is the key debate going on within the Democratic Party right now and you are both perfectly illustrating why it is so necessary for us to have this discussion. It’s easy to paint it as black and white (political pandering versus ideological purity), but it’s not that simple and both of you know it.

There is no one way to win an election, but to build a strong Party that will be able to hold on to power (and we’re going to have to if we are to have any chance of cleaning up the mess this administration will leave behind) will take more than political maneuvering. Yes it is critical that the Democrats take control of at least one House of Congress this November, but what happens after that is just as critical. The same is true of ’08. A pretty box with a big red bow is a pretty shitty gift if it’s empty.

Carry on, but I’m taking the bats and the balls so no one gets hurt!

4:23 PM  

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