Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ways Out of Iraq on the Horizon?

In 2003, a coalition of forces led by American troops invaded Iraq and successfully ousted the regime of Saddam Hussein.  Since then, the coalition, with dwindling inclusion from other nations, has occupied Iraq.  Our troops are there now fighting insurgents and supporting the democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

For months if not years, President George W. Bush has endured calls from the American left to withdraw or to set a date for withdrawal of our troops.  He has steadfastly opposed those calls because setting a departure date would likely embolden America's enemies and tell them how long they had to hold out before they could claim victory by outlasting the invaders.  I think Bush was right.
Once we got into Iraq, short of defeat, there were only two ways out . . . total victory or at the request of the Iraqi people through their elected government.  It seems now that one or both of those ways out of Iraq might be opening up.

First, see this story from the London Times:  joint forces of the U.S. and Iraq are driving toward "one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror."  Al-Qaeda in Iraq has taken a "last stand" in Mosul and appears to be on the verge of annihilation. 

Second, the Iraqi government seems on the verge of asking foreign troops to leave.  According to this Reuters story, Prime Minister al-Maliki is "looking at the necessity of terminating foreign presence on Iraqi lands."  He wants an understanding on withdrawal of troops or a timetable for withdrawal.

If the Iraqi government truly wants foreign troops out and can handle things on their own, then by all means, bring the troops home.  Americans should not be fighting or dying for Iraqi security if their own people are capable of doing the job.


Dameon said...

The terrorists will just pop up someplace else in Iraq.

The continued visible presence of the U.S. forces is prolonging the war because it gives the terrorists an excuse to continue targeting civilians. But a withdrawl will trigger civil war, because the Iraqi government is not strong enough yet.

I think the way out it to pull the troops out of the populated areas where the Iraqi forces have a good presence - eventually having our forces only in encapments well outside of the cities, ready to strike if needed, but away from the populace. If the terrorists continue to target the Iraqi populace, then the Iraqi citizens will realize that the terrorists are not there to drive out the U.S. but just to reak havoc, and their support will dry up to the point that the Iraqi's themselves will put them down.

St. Louis Conservative said...

You may be right, but if the Iraqi government asks us to leave, I think we should leave. They - and the terrorists - should know we'll come back if we need to.

Dameon said...

Oh, no doubt. If the government asks us to leave, pack up and go.