I'm conflicted on whether to pull our troops out. I agree that this would create a power vacuum in Iraq. On the other hand, I don't trust this administration to make the situation better. There's a Russian military axiom that you don't reinforce failure.
The US has spent nearly $300 billion on Iraq so far. |Cost of War|
While the administration seems to have realized some of their most egregious mistakes and are doing better. Past failures cast a long shadow and the spectre of civil war cannot be ignored. This administration surrendered any pretense of credibility long ago.
So, I think a total withdrawal from Iraq by the US would be bad, why aren't other options being explored?
I've suggested elsewhere that partitioning the country is a solution worth exploring.
Or what about bringing in peacekeepers other than US soldiers? Especially soldiers from other Arab nations like Turkey, Pakistan, or Egypt, our ostensible allies?
Oh yeah, the current administration is totally hostile to the UN and has alienated all of our allies to the point where they won't commit troops to Iraq. I almost forgot.
Well, what if the US asked our allies to play a larger role in Iraq in return for surrendering Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld to the Hague to stand trial as war criminals?
Related to these points, there's a great deal of speculation on whether the next US President will be forced to pull out of Iraq.
Amir Taheri indicates that the popular view in the Mideast is that America will cut and run as soon as Bush steps down.
According to this theory [of American cowardice], President George W. Bush is an "aberration," a leader out of sync with his nation's character and no more than a brief nightmare for those who oppose the creation of an "American Middle East." Messrs. Abbasi and Ahmadinejad have concluded that there will be no [last] helicopter [fleeing Iraq] as long as George W. Bush is in the White House. But they believe that whoever succeeds him, Democrat or Republican, will revive the [fleeing] helicopter image to extricate the U.S. from a complex situation that few Americans appear to understand..."We are sure the U.S. will return to saner policies," says Manuchehr Motakki, Iran's new Foreign Minister....
But how valid is the assumption that Mr. Bush is an aberration and that his successor will "run away"? It was to find answers that this writer spent several days in the U.S., especially Washington and New York, meeting ordinary Americans and senior leaders, including potential presidential candidates from both parties. While Mr. Bush's approval ratings, now in free fall, and the increasingly bitter American debate on Iraq may lend some credence to the "helicopter" theory, I found no evidence that anyone in the American leadership elite supported a cut-and-run strategy.
The reason was that almost all realized that the 9/11 attacks have changed the way most Americans see the world and their own place in it. Running away from Saigon, the Iranian desert, Beirut, Safwan and Mogadishu was not hard to sell to the average American, because he was sure that the story would end there; the enemies left behind would not pursue their campaign within the U.S. itself. The enemies that America is now facing in the jihadist archipelago, however, are dedicated to the destruction of the U.S. as the world knows it today.|WSJ Opinion Journal|
James Kunstler's take on our involvement in Iraq is as cynical (and perceptive) as ever based upon the global politics of petrochemicals.
I'm not sure that his position is internally consistent. Americans refuse to accept the reality of the situation with regard to oil and war. Why shouldn't they continue to make incredibly poor decisions in using oil, selecting presidents, starting wars casually and ending them prematurely?
[T]he war-weary public has done, and continues to do, nothing to change its habits of profligate oil use which have driven us to project our military into the Middle East.
We...expect to keep running American society exactly the way it has been set up to run -- as a nonstop demolition derby, with hamburgers and fries between laps around the freeway....
In the absence of [changing our energy dependent ways], our presence in Iraq is not optional.|Clusterfuck Nation|