Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Areal "conservative" view on leaving Iraq NOW!

March 19, 2004

Wisest Move: Leave soon
by Christopher Preble

Christopher Preble is director of foreign policy
studies at the Cato Institute and a member of the
Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy.

There are three primary reasons for ending the U.S.
military occupation of Iraq.

First, our military presence weakens liberal
democratic forces in Iraq. It may be unfair to
characterize the new government in Iraq as a U.S.
puppet, but such sentiments are widespread. It will be
more difficult to prove the government's legitimacy if
it is seen as dependent upon U.S. forces for its
survival.

Second, a military presence in Iraq is not needed to
protect U.S. security interests, and such a presence
is costly. The Bush administration hopes to conceal
these costs -- $3 billion to $4 billion a month --
until after the November election. Meanwhile, we risk
undermining the strength and credibility of our armed
forces by spreading them too thin. These costs will be
measured in faltering recruitment and retention rates.
And then there is the incalculable cost of the dead
and wounded.

Finally, the military occupation of Iraq is not merely
unnecessary and costly. It is counterproductive in the
fight against the terrorists who pose the greatest
threat to us: al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups.

By withdrawing from Iraq, the United States would be
broadcasting to the world, in particular Arab and
Muslim populations, that America has no plans to seize
control of Middle East oil or to suppress the peaceful
aspirations of the region's population. Withdrawal
would undermine the credibility of anti-American
propaganda that characterizes the occupation as a
vehicle for U.S. dominance in the region. In other
words, the United States should leave Iraq precisely
because it is what the Iraqis want and what the
terrorists fear.

At the same time, the Bush administration must
communicate to the people of Iraq: "We have withdrawn
militarily from your country, but that does not mean
that we will ignore what you do. Do not harbor
al-Qaeda or other anti-American terrorist groups, or
we will be back."

The message would be even simpler, and more chilling,
for al-Qaeda and its ilk: "Now we are coming for you.
Our ability to find and destroy you -- wherever you
may be -- is enhanced by the elimination of our costly
and burdensome occupation in Iraq."

An orderly exit by U.S. forces can be touted for what
it is: a victory for the United States and Iraq, the
logical conclusion to action that removed a brutal
dictator.

Therefore, the Bush administration should commit to a
formal plan for military withdrawal that would have
all U.S. forces out of the country within one year of
the handover of political sovereignty: July 1, 2005.

Military presence is too costly and fuels anti-U.S.
propaganda.

This article originally appeared in USA Today, March
19, 2004.
****************************************************

January 17, 2005

How to Exit Iraq
by Christopher Preble

Christopher Preble, director of foreign policy studies
at the Cato Institute, is director of the task force
that prepared Exiting Iraq: Why the U.S. Must End the
Military Occupation and Renew the War against Al Qaeda
(2004).

Calls for a relatively swift end to the U.S. military
occupation of Iraq have risen in recent months from a
cautious whisper to an anxious chorus. This should not
come as a surprise. No rational person looking at the
evidence from Iraq today would conclude that the Iraqi
people will tolerate a long-term military presence.
The question is whether the Bush administration will
come to the same conclusion and begin planning for a
military withdrawal from Iraq.

Early last year, I chaired a panel of experts tasked
with examining America's military occupation of Iraq.
The result was the report, Exiting Iraq. Our
unequivocal finding -- that it was in America's
interest to quickly end the military occupation --
was, at the time, dramatically at variance with the
conventional wisdom, which presumed that the United
States must remain in Iraq "as long as necessary."

As long as necessary has proven too long. The authors
of Exiting Iraq anticipated that the trend of rising
opposition to the U.S. occupation would not be
reversed by the nominal handover of sovereignty in
June, 2004. We recognized that the presence of U.S.
forces undermines the legitimacy of the Iraqi
government. We also noted that widespread opposition
to the U.S. occupation within the Iraqi populace
undermined U.S. credibility on a host of other issues.

Our call for a U.S. military withdrawal by January 30,
2005, to be negotiated in concert with the interim
government, would appear fanciful, even absurd, if
first put forward on January 17, 2005.

However, that date was both practical and sensible
when it was set forth in June, 2004. Had policymakers
heeded our advice, they might have been able to save
hundreds of American lives, and, I believe, many more
Iraqi lives. Moreover, this policy shift could have
rescued a modicum of U.S. credibility and put Iraq on
a fast-track to self-governance.

U.S. policymakers now have another chance to get it
right, first, by urging Iraqis to participate in the
upcoming elections; second, by working with the Iraqi
government on a timetable for U.S. military withdrawal
by January 1, 2006; and third, by following through on
our promise to allow the Iraqis to govern themselves,
so long as they do not threaten the United States.

Withdrawal is not the only option, and leaving Iraq
does carry serious risks. Although there are signs
that the occupation is serving to increase ethnic
tensions, many worry that the presence of U.S. troops
is the only thing standing in the way of a civil war
between the disparate groups in Iraq that are vying
for power.

But the question ultimately comes down to costs and
benefits: Can an alternative course of action,
especially a continuation of the occupation, be
crafted in such a way that it has some reasonable
chance of permanently pacifying Iraq? Can the U.S.
nation-building project in Iraq achieve its goals at a
cost that will be acceptable to the American people?

Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski
declared last week that the United States could never
achieve its goals of a democratic, stable and peaceful
Iraq unless the American people were prepared to
"commit 500,000 troops, spend [US]$200 billion a year,
probably have a draft," and have some form of wartime
taxation. Brzezinski conceded that Americans "are not
prepared to do that."

I agree. Given that a continuation of the current
course of action cannot achieve success, and given
that the American people are unwilling to pay the
costs necessary to do so, there is only one rational
option: a prompt military withdrawal.

Although the Bush administration may not be
predisposed toward a military exit by the end of this
year, an orderly withdrawal by U.S. forces can be
touted for what it is: a victory for both the United
States and Iraq, the logical conclusion to action that
resulted in the removal of a brutal dictator. By
withdrawing militarily from Iraq, the United States
will be broadcasting to the world -- in particular the
Arab and Muslim worlds -- that the United States has
no plans to take control of Middle East oil or to
otherwise impose its will on the people of the region.

Such a message would seriously undermine the
terrorists' tortured claims that their acts of
violence against heroic Iraqis who have willingly
co-operated with coalition forces somehow serve the
interests of Iraqis. Such claims were always tenuous;
they would be absurd on their face were it not for the
presence of a foreign occupier.

The jihadis will claim that the American withdrawal
represents a victory for their side. But while the
United States has already suffered a blow to its
credibility, it is still eminently capable of
defending its vital interests. An American military
withdrawal would not, and must not, signal that the
United States has chosen to ignore events in Iraq.

If Iraqis wish to retain their sovereignty and
independence, they must ensure that al-Qaeda and other
anti-American terrorist groups do not establish a safe
haven in their country. Accordingly, the withdrawal of
U.S. forces must be coupled with a clear and
unequivocal message to the new government of Iraq: do
not threaten us or allow foreign terrorists in your
country to threaten us. If you do, we will be back.

This message must be communicated publicly because it
is the same message that must be understood throughout
the world. Other countries should have nothing to fear
from the United States if they disavow support for
terrorist groups that aim to kill American citizens.
But those terrorists who have already demonstrated the
capability and the intention of harming Americans
still have much to fear.

By ending the military occupation of Iraq, and by
redirecting U.S. resources -- military, but also
diplomatic and political -- to the fight against
al-Qaeda, the United States will again be engaging the
terrorists on its terms, not theirs.

A version of this article appeared in the National
Post, January 12, 2005.

1 Comments:

At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For searching blogs I visit your site, because have something of interest.
Cleo

 

Post a Comment

<< Home