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Should The U.S. Leave Iraq?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
"America's greatest strength lies in using leadership that seeks to inspire, not dominate. This is where Bush has it all wrong. While Bush overuses our finite military resources to enforce our will in remote lands, he does little to call forth the infinite creativity, goodwill and generosity of the American people and their inclination to befriend other peoples -- which is, in the long run, our first and strongest line of defense against violence and terrorism." Ted Lewis

When Bush was pushing for the war, and others were renaming French Fries as Freedom Fries, and other jabs against anti-war nations, the first thing I thought was why are you trying to alienate nations when you most likely will need them to help rebuild Iraq in the near future?

Interesting article on what is happening over in Iraq. Do you agree?? Disagree?? Any comments??

Article is from: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...4/ED276949.DTL

Why we must leave Iraq

Ted Lewis Thursday, September 4, 2003


The American military occupation in Iraq looks ever more grim as the death toll rises and bombings such as the one at the Najaf mosque last week portend a phase of expanding violence. Increasingly, Americans are questioning the strategy, goals and methods of the Bush administration's handling of our nation's most extensive foreign intervention since Vietnam.

Hundreds of U.S. and British troops and untold thousands of Iraqis have died since March, while poor American planning has left Iraq with intermittent electricity, no phones, water shortages and a nearly complete breakdown of public order. Such basic failures guarantee an ever more hostile environment for occupiers, humanitarian workers and any Iraqis who assist them.

Millions of Americans publicly demonstrated against war and occupation. We warned that pre-emptive war based on exaggerations and deception of the American public destabilize Iraq and lead to a draining occupation, gross misspending of our national treasure and potentially serve as a recruiting ground and target gallery for all types of anti-American warriors. When we asked for genuine national debate about the consequences of war, Bush neocons, mainstream pundits and even Washington Democrats dismissed us as unrealistic and unrepresentative rabble.

It is too bad the voices of restraint were right.

President Bush's version was prettier: a tyrant vanquished; Americans embraced; Iraqis put aside age-old grievances, uniting to practice democracy under American free-market rules; Palestinians and Israelis sheathe their swords; dispirited terrorists throw in the towel from Afghanistan to Bali and an unstoppable wave of democracy sweeps the region, deposing despotic rulers in an orderly, pro-American way.

The painful truth is that the Bush dream for the Middle East has become the region's nightmare. It would be all too easy for those of us who opposed the war to say "I told you so" and turn away as Bush slides into the pit that he has dug for himself. But we cannot turn away, because our entire nation is in danger of slipping into the pit along with him. We must work together to restore our pride and unity as a nation as well as our reputation with neighbors around the world.

America's greatest strength lies in using leadership that seeks to inspire, not dominate. This is where Bush has it all wrong. While Bush overuses our finite military resources to enforce our will in remote lands, he does little to call forth the infinite creativity, goodwill and generosity of the American people and their inclination to befriend other peoples -- which is, in the long run, our first and strongest line of defense against violence and terrorism.

Leaving Iraq won't be simple. The United States promised many things to many people. Sudden withdrawal could throw the Iraqi people from the frying pan into the fire. Yet U.S. occupiers have already blown a priceless opportunity to win the confidence of many ordinary Iraqis who were initially willing to believe that the clever new American rulers could provide them a better life. Now, with our credibility in tatters, common sense dictates that we must:

Leave Iraq sooner rather than later. The more swiftly we turn over responsibility for the job of rebuilding Iraq to an international body, the better. Rapid pullback from Iraq and handover of administrative authority to an international transition force does not represent the "retreat" before terror that Bush says will lead to more attacks on U.S. soil. Rather, it represents the best of the bad options left to us by the anti-democratic decisions of the Bush administration.

Contribute financially to both an international stabilization force and the urgent reconstruction of Iraq. An independent peacekeeping force will more likely succeed than one seen as an appendage of the U.S. occupation army.

Restore alliances with key democracies in Europe and around the globe. We need to rebuild our credibility as a global partner and coalition-builder, not the unilateralist of imperial bent.

When we lead in matters of justice, human rights, environmental stewardship and control of deadly illnesses, we acquire life-long allies and enhance our collective prospects of surviving. Kicking in doors at midnight in Fallujah, Ramadi and Babylon just turns innocent youth into deadly enemies.

Ted Lewis of Global Exchange traveled to Iraq in July to help establish the Iraq Occupation Watch (www.occupationwatch.org).
post #2 of 20
The US is in a bad and worse situation right now. If we leave immediately, we not only leave a floundering country to fend for itself but we also say to the world that we can whoop your ass but we can't build you up again. Basically, we would be admitting defeat in the face of the Baath party and the terrorist groups. If we wait until the UN gets itself together and passes a resolution to take over, we may be waiting for years to come. The UN is ineffective to say the least. If we try to build up Iraq as promised, some people there will be angry that we are there at all and will attack us. People all over the world will continue to question why our troops are there in the first place, as well as why we are spending billions of dollars when we have a deficit.

The author is right in at least one respect....Bush has dug a hole that it looks night on impossible to get out of right now.

No matter what we do, we are in a losing situation. The truly sad part is that no matter what we do, the Iraqi people are in a losing situation. We cannot contribute to re-building the infrastructure (power, food, etc.) in Iraq that the former regime destroyed (Why isn't that ever mentioned? Just the fact that we haven't fixed it yet?) while the militants and Baath supporters attack our troops and the Iraqi people daily. Security has to be the #1 issue for the troops. If we leave, nothing happens for the people except that it opens the door for Saddam to walk back in and pick up where he left off. If not him, another like him.
post #3 of 20
I agree with Heidi - it's a lose-lose situation. The UN is inefficient and ineffective. I rather doubt that any more countries are going to be willing to go in and clean up Bush's mess - they would be crazy to, and their constituents wouldn't accept it, either. To use the old cliché: Bush made his bed, and now he is (and the armed forces and taxpayers are) going to have to lie in it.
P.S. I was "home" for four weeks (I question where my home is, thus the quotation marks: Philly, where I grew up, Nebraska, where my family now lives, or Germany, where I've lived for over 20 years?) and only came across one person (my former brother-in-law) who expressed any admiration of Bush, and that was in the Heartland. Most of the people I talked to were registered Republicans! Teenagers in particular question the Administration's policies. I have a sinking feeling that this is going to be another Vietnam, i.e., a quagmire, where the longer the hostile actions continue, the more public opinion is going to turn against the U.S. government. I'm old enough to remember, "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today"!
post #4 of 20
And abandon our great allies, the Brits and the Poles?

valanhb wrote:
If we leave, nothing happens for the people except that it opens the door for Saddam to walk back in and pick up where he left off. If not him, another like him.
Is our presence there REALLY preventing the country's takeover by another dictator? Yes, in the short run. But why wouldn't an international consortium prevent same?
post #5 of 20
I don't think he is going to get the support that he is asking for! Canada has dedicaterd their troops to Bosnia and Afganistan and I can't see the French wanting to help now. When it was thought that the "war" would be over quickly, it was ok to insult the "anti-war" nations, but now they are desparately needed!
post #6 of 20
Yes, but slowly. They should hand over power to the UN. Slowly. One step at a time...
post #7 of 20
I don't know what Bush was thinking in the first place. He didn't really get any support from any other countries (except a few) when he declared that he was going to get rid of Saddam Hussein. Maybe he should've thought of why he got such a poor support.

But know that it's done the US can't just walk away. There's a big mess to clean up.
post #8 of 20
No one ever said the war would be over quickly. Bush said it would NOT be over quickly, and we would stay in Iraq "as long as it takes".
post #9 of 20
I agree with many of the things said. It IS a quagmire that I think will draw more comparisons to Vietnam as time goes by. It IS a no win situation. There is no quick fix, and we have military men and women stuck there away from their families until something is done.

This whole charade is now based on what's best for the Iraqi people. Well here's a thought. Find out what they want instead of thrusting our western ideals on them. Take polls, talk to people in the street, do SOMETHING to get an idea. The folks at home really don't know what the people of Iraq want. We know what the media and our powers that be tell us they want. I for one have heard and read conflicting reports on exactly what Iraqis want next. We're supposed to be there upholding democracy, and as of yet I've seen precious little of it.
post #10 of 20
Hmmmm . . . I personally am a conservative Republican, on just about every topic imaginable. However, I think Bush is a complete blustering, idiotic fool who is too proud to admit he messed things up. America is in a bad situation. Either way, we look bad. Bush talked way too much up front, so now we either go back on our word and look like we can't follow through, or we stick to it and look like tyrants. Not to mention the fact the everyone just ASSUMES that OF COURSE the Iraqi people want the same things that people in wonderful America would want. I feel really sorry for the soldiers and their families right now. The soldiers are doing all the dirty work, sometimes losing their lives because some people in Iraq obviously don't want them there. But, it's necessary in some ways that they stay to protect other people who live there. *Sigh* I'm sick of the whole scenario.
post #11 of 20
There is no way we can pack up and leave Iraq. That would be deadly and a chaotic mistake. Saddam would waltz right back in there. And the Iraqi people are trusting us to stay until the job is done. If we left, we would never gain their trust again and in fact may have more problems.

As far as the French. It was more then the French just disagreeing with the U.S. It was the underhanded tactics France used.

I don't care for G.W.'s way of getting things done but I do care about the Iraqi's (since I'm married to one and involved in a huge community). It wouldn't be in anyone's best interest for us to leave Iraq now.
post #12 of 20
Bush has screwed up. What really pisses my off is that our economy is in the toilet and now we are stuck spending money on Iraq. I say take at least some of that money and rebuild America. Give the money to people who got laid off and still can't find work. Give the money to new businesses that are just getting started.

I don't think their is going to be much of an election in 2004. If America doesn't recover and we continue to lose lives in Iraq, it will be a landside win for the Democrats and Bush will be out.

my 2 cents
post #13 of 20
and here i am with the current military perspective (am i the only US military wife/ family member on this board?); despite white house efforts to cover it up, moral IS low, and the soldiers hate being over there. as some people know, i work for AAFES, so i talk to literally hundreds of soldiers a day, many of them were in Iraq for about 5-6 months, and out of hundreds to thousands of opinions, only TWO people have had anything good to say about the conflict or the president, and both were in Kuwait the whole time, so not really involved in anything. i talk to retirees, korean vets, vietnam vets, current military, their families and all who wanted to talk about it said the same thing: can't wait for the next election and to get that jack-a$$ out of office.

my husband and all around him in Tikrit just want to come home, and they wish that the Iraqi people understood that they want to be there as little as the Iraqis want them there.

YES, it is time for us to pull out and it is time for an INTERNATIONAL peace-keeping force. but not as slowly as W wants to do it...at that rate, we won't be out of there in the next year or so. it shouldn't be too quick, but let's not drag this out longer than it has to be. i think that the current events are testimony enough that things are not happening fast enough and the Iraqi people are getting P*ssed.

personally, i'd LOVE to know what they want, because i also believe that it is terrible to thrust our ideals and our way of life on them.

just my two cents and a little perspective into what the military ACTUALLY thinks vs. what the white house and media TELL you that they think.
post #14 of 20
I think we should leave when our job is done - JMO
post #15 of 20
I was always against the war/invasion of Iraq! But IMO the US & its allies will never leave until they control the majority of the oil interest.
The Philippines has always been and will always be a loyal friend of America. We have already sent a humanitarian force to help rebuilding Iraq. We have our share of terrorist attacks so it is a small sacrifice in our part to send people to Iraq when we need them more here. Sometimes I wonder if US even realizes this?
post #16 of 20
My original beef was with the attitude the US and the UK adopted at the outset, which was basically 2 fingers up to the rest of the world and that Bush and Blair know best. Having said that, there was never any question in my mind of condoning the Iraqi regime, please don't think that.

Having invaded however, the occupiers have a moral obligation to see the job through. To leave now would be almost as reprehensible as the original occupation. A complete mess has been created, and the US better not renage on it's responsibilities now and run away. That would mean carnage and the further collapse of what the West sees as a savage nation, but what is, in reality one of the older civilizations in the world with a complex structure we don't even try to understand.

So the UN is ineffective? OK it takes a while to reach a consensus as there are a great number of opinions to consider. However, if the 2 bumbling B's had waited in the first place, it could be that a multi-national force could now be in Iraq and the collective power of this force could have managed the difficult situation of removing a regime and rebuilding a country. As it is, sadly the Americans and the British are going to have to pour millions and millions into this on their own. NEVER believe what a poitician tells you - this should be a lesson to us all.
post #17 of 20
I agree with most comments passed except the comparison with Vietnam.
Please, please dont compare. I know vietnamese who fought in The American War with the americans and who are still suffering the consequences. You cannot walk down Dong Quo street without tripping over war veterans with no legs and arms etc etc., been there, seen them and the sad Americans who are still there! What was done there was a different age and a different fight (whatever the rights and wrong politically which we should not go into here. Iraq is a totally different ball game and should be viewed as such. If one country invades another, for whatever reason you cannot just pull out and leave them to it when the going gets tough. No one wants sons, daughters. husbands, fathers etc killed or maimed but the rebuild is our responsibility.
Theres is more to this conflict than oil!
post #18 of 20
The situation seems to be getting worse and not better there. Everyday you hear of more US troops and civilians getting killed or wounded. It has to stop sometime. Maybe the US has to leave as soon of the extremist there have it in for Americans and a more neutral peacekeeping force (Canada, Germany, France, etc) sould go in and take control now. All I can say, is the longer the US troops stay there the more casualties there are. I worry for the troops and their families. Maybe a change of pace is the answer.
post #19 of 20
yayi, just so you know, the US doesn't get its oil from the middle east; i think about 60% of it comes from Venezuala and from South America.

Tulip, while it may bother you to see a comparison to Vietnam, EVERY Vietnam vet i've talked to compares the conflicts. they are similar. let's just hope that in this day and age, no soldiers come home to having things thrown at them or being called baby killers.
post #20 of 20
The Vietnam Vets who I have spoken to, they certainly don't compare the current conflict with Vietnam.

In 'Nam, hundreds of our soldiers were killed daily. There was no clear directive (stopping the Communists from having a foothold in Southern Asia is not clear...), nor was there a decisive outcome to the conflict. There was a draft, so the majority of the soldiers in Vietnam were rushed through basic training, handed a gun and told to go fight. They didn't want to be soldiers.

Contrast Iraq: We are hearing on average 1-10 casualties per day, and that includes the wounded. The directive was quite clear - remove Saddam Hussein and his regime from power, which was accomplished in 3-4 weeks. Now the directive is to re-build infrastructure and put Iraw in the position to take over control of their own country (something they haven't had to do in over 20 years!) All of our soldiers are voluntary, they joined of their own volition.

Of course there are some morale problems. Take anyone, from any job, away from their families for a year or more and there will be morale problems. In any time of war or military conflict (it isn't politically correct or politically feasible to be at "war" any more, so we aren't), moral within the troops will drop.

The biggest problem that we have in Iraq right now is that we are expecting a fighting force (i.e. engage and destroy) to be a police force (i.e. protect and serve). They simply are not trained to do that, which makes them less effective than they could be with the correct personnel. That's not to say that they aren't good at what they do - they are! But they are not construction crews to build the infrastructure that Iraq needs (and are getting, which isn't being reported in the press), nor to protect the public from the minority who are still loyal to Hussein and are showing it with suicide bombings and small arms engagement.

Face it, if ALL of the Iraqis didn't want us there, a force of 200,000 soldiers could not combat them.
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