It’s time to leave Iraq alone

This is going to be an unpopular post…

Yes, I believe it is long past time for American, British and all other troops to leave Iraq. That is not a new position, nor is it surprising.

What you may be surprised to hear.. because it is certainly not something I have suggested before on this blog… is that I believe it is time to leave Iraq to Iraqis.

After the Coalition leaves, unless specifically requested by the Iraqi government, no effort should be made to insert any other kind of foreign presence, UN, NATO, or otherwise in Iraq. Others who are perhaps more versed than me in geopolitics think otherwise.

I will explain.

Iraq is clearly not the country it was in 2003. Many Iraqis, perhaps most, reject violence… but many others are all too eager to retaliate and cry from retribution, following tribal, religious and ethnic banners.

Foreign troops will only complicate matters.. and provide Iraqis, and foreign jihadis, with a scapegoat. This is why the United Nations traditionally exits any internal conflict before it “goes hot”. Once the situation deteriorates to that point one cannot help but be pulled to one side or the other… or worse, become a target of both sides. (Which is exactly what has happen to American and British troops)

So. It is time to leave Iraq to Iraqis. Yes, by leaving a relative vacuum.. the probability of all out civil war would be even higher. Through history, that is how countries are born. If Iraq splits into 2 or 3 countries… or stays a united Federation, we cannot know, and we should not try to predict or push.

It is up to Iraqis to decide their future, it always has been… and it should have been left up to them in the first place. Now, after 3 years of bloodshed created by the invasion of a foreign army, they must be left to fend for themselves. Not because it is any lesson that *they* need to learn… christ… they’ve been through enough… rather, it’s a lesson we foreigners must learn. We cannot attempt to impose our own will on places we do not fully understand.

America was born through revolution. America suffered terrible civil war. America was not built overnight.. or in 3 years… it took many generations to build the strong, proud, and free America we know today.

Iraqis’ must be allowed now to build their country as they see fit. That will likely mean terrible bloodshed and a very uncertain outcome in the short term.. but in the longterm, hopefully, a stable solution will emerge. Iraq is a country born out of fallen Empires… Ottoman… British… American… it’s now time to allow Iraq to be born (or not) by Iraqis.

2 thoughts on “It’s time to leave Iraq alone”

  1. I’m weary of the the Iraqi conundrum as you are. Surprise. But…Iraqi may end up as another Somalia if the US does as you command. The chance that most relatively new and successful nations (such as my own beloved country) had to develop into stable political and economic entities does not exist for Iraq in the present ME configuration. No one is going to allow Iraq to work out it’s destiny. Iran will jump in as may Syria without a restraining force there to prevent such exploitation. Look at Lebanon if you want an example of a small, weak country thrown into civil war by the influence of outside forces, waiting more than a generation to be a real nation and not a colony. Iraq will be a bloodbath worse than we’ve imagined if we just fold up our tents and leave them to it. For someone who weeps for children killed in war and other tragedies, you are far too cavalier about the teeny tiny chance Iraq has of becoming one nation or three existing peacefully. Shame on you. Nothing the US or Canada ever experienced in their national development even comes close to the horror that will be Iraq if your plan is enacted.

  2. So tell me Jane.

    What exactly is the US doing in Iraq right now that is “restraining” the countries you mentioned?

    Syrias’ Sunni Baath party has had strong ties to Iraq for decades. That has certainly not changed.

    Iran is already arguably exerting more influence on the day-to-day operation of Iraq than the US is.

    I don’t think you give Iraqis enough credit. They have proven to be extremely capable of taking care of themselves.. both under authoritarian, and now occupying rule. Thanks to the British colonisation and OFF scandal, they were already very wary of International influence in their affairs. They also remember the Iran/Iraq war very well…

    The Coalition presence in Iraq is, at this point, simply a flashpoint of tension and violence. It’s time for them to leave.

    I might remind you, Jane, that I advocated long and hard for a proper UN presence in Iraq… one that had a mandate from the beginning to rebuild Iraq and leave when it was done… and one that would NOT be perceived as linked to the colonial aspirations of one single country. It would have also been a force LARGE ENOUGH and with adequate planning to ensure the successful security and stability of the nation.

    The leaders of your nation chose not to take that advice, even from it’s own generals. In order to secure and truly stabilize Iraq, there needs to be 100s of thousands of more troops. And even then, now that the jihadis have taken hold across the country, the likelyhood of eradicating their presense is minimal. Do you think Iraqis would stand for that number of new foreign boots on their territory? I seriously doubt it…

    The United States Administration’s arrogance has come back to haunt Iraqis. (Obviously not the Administration, because they’re still in power, for some incredible reason) Prolonging the US presence in Iraq will simply exacerbate the problem even more. There are plenty of other options, some suggested by your own Congressmen and Senators (who also happen to be veterans…) maybe you should start listening to people who have actually fought in wars… rather than people who only know them from the headlines they create themselves in the papers.

    I have a solution for you Jane. You should start advocating that the White House, including the President and all his advisors, work from the Green Zone for 6 months. Let them get a taste of it themselves. Maybe then some reality would start creeping into their brains.

    The Daily Kos has a great quote from Dick Cheney…

    Videotape, March 16, 2003):
    MR. RUSSERT: The army’s top general said that we would have to have several hundred thousand troops there for several years in order to maintain stability.

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: I disagree. To suggest that we need several hundred thousand troops there after military operations cease, after the conflict ends, I don’t think is accurate. I think that’s an overstatement.

    In September 2003, Cheney said:

    MR. RUSSERT: We, in fact, have about 140,000 troops, 20,000 international troops, as well. Did you misjudge the number of troops necessary to secure Iraq after major combat operations?
    VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, you’re going to get into a debate here about–talking about several years, several hundred thousand troops for several years. I think that’s a non-starter. I don’t think we have any plan to do that, Tim. I don’t think it’s necessary to do that. . . . I don’t think there has been a major shift in terms of U.S. troop levels. And I still remain convinced that the judgment that we’ll need “several hundred thousand for several years” is not valid.

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