Leave Iraq Now

What if the Shia turn against U.S.?,” by Joe Galloway, The Anniston Start, 5 August 2006, http://www.annistonstar.com/opinion/2006/as-columns-0805-0-6h04s2718.htm (from Michael Yon and The Corner).

More Iranian experts calling on Bush to deal from the baseline that Iran’s getting the bomb,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 7 August 2006, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/003548.html.

Iraq is a state in the deepest part of the gap. We should be firewalling ourselves off from the Gap’s violence. We should be increasing the instability in the Gap (to change their system) while increasing the stability of the Core (to preserve our system). We should realize that attempts to superimpose the legal structure of the Core in an imaginary state surrounded in the Gap

Bad Neighbors

By remaining in Iraq, our foreign policy is at the mercy of Iran’s kind graces. As long as we are in Iraq, we can only do what Iran wants us to do: unless we are willing to put American in a trap worthy of the French in Indochina

However invincible the military of the world’s only superpower might seem, every army has its weak spot. Historically, it centers on logistics, the supply line tail that wags the dog. From Hannibal to Erwin Rommel, from Robert E. Lee to Kim Il Sung in 1950, it’s been ever thus.

The lifeline for American forces in Iraq is a 400-plus-mile main supply route that runs from Kuwait through Shia-dominated and Iranian-infiltrated southern Iraq to Baghdad and points north and west.

Along that route, trucks and tankers driven by third-country nationals — Turks, Pakistanis and others — haul 95 percent of the beans and bullets for our troops and 100 percent of the fuel that our tanks and Bradleys and Humvees gulp at staggering rates.

There’s another strategic vulnerability farther up the chain: Supplies for our forces must first reach the main port in Kuwait by ships — ships that must transit the Strait of Hormuz past a gantlet of Iranian Silkworm anti-ship missiles and suicide torpedo boats.

Little wonder, then, that Iran and its ayatollahs have the nerve to thumb their noses at efforts to curtail their nuclear ambitions and to supply thousands of short- and medium-range missiles to their Hezbollah proteges in Lebanon.

Iraq’s Highway, Our Vulnerability, Iran’s Veto

Tom Barnett has written similar things in the future:

Again, this is what I warned about back in early 2005 in Esquire: we either get off the WMD focus or Iran would veto our efforts at peace throughout the region. Now that Iran’s gone through with that obvious threat, taking advantage of the unleashed Shiite minorities’s anger throughout the region (the main byproduct of the Big Bang), a lot of people who had a hard time with such arguments back then are basically repeating them now.

The way out is to leave Iraq. We know that Iraqis – even Iraqis who do not like us — will kill Baathist and Qaedists on their own. Increasingly, our misguided attempts to move up Iraq just amount to subverting the democratic Iraqi government’s attempts to defear our mutual enemies. The best plan is to leave Iraq, recovery our foreign policy from the Iranian Mullahs, and continue winning the Global War on Terrorism.

8 thoughts on “Leave Iraq Now”

  1. Thomas P.M. Barnett :: The Breakfast Cereal

    (and who says I just use his words as debating points [1], lol!)

    I've said “leave Iraq” before [2], but the benefits of leaving soon continue to increase. In particular, consider some good news and some bad news.

    The good news (I cannot find the link) is that most of those killed by violence in Iraq are Sunni Arabs. The only built-in advantage of the Qaedist and Baathist Enemies, and their host population, is that as the historical military class in Iraq they could export violence much more efficiently than the democratic majority. The news that they can no longer export a majority of the sectarian violence means that this ability is slipping away. More and more, we are seeing the ability of the democratic majority to defend themselves and defeat al-Baath and al-Qaeda by themselves.

    The bad news is that Iraq's civil war is getting worse — Shia militants burned an office of Iraq's Kurdish president [3] In a way this is a symptom of victory — the Italians and Serbs turned on each other in 1918 only after it was clear that the Habsburgs weren't coming back — but it shows we have less and less of a constructive role to play. Better to support sides more favorable to us with cash, air support, etc, than attempt to save a state that never should have been.

    [1] http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/002840.html
    [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/06/25/kill-baathists-kill-qaedists-that-is-military-victory.html
    [3] http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060810/shiite_shrine_060811/20060811?hub=World

  2. Interesting. I didn't know you thought this.

    Have you always believed the US shouldn't be in Iraq or did you change your mind? If so, when and what caused you to?

  3. Phil,

    Bush's April 2003 invasion of Iraq was the right war, at the right place, at the right time. From triggering a system perturbation in the Gap to showing that “gang” (Tom Friedman's words) we mean business, it was the right choice. It is a defining moment of the Bush presidency, and shows him to be a great man.

    After the end of major combat operations though, the purpose of our involvement got fuzzier and fuzzier. I remember being annoyed that Paul Bremer was installed instead of a Kurdish-Shia government, and that reluctance to realize what democracy means in Iraq is still with the Administration.

    A war focused against al-Baath and al-Qaeda is rationally focused on changing the system so that neither can regroup. Democracy is the logical tool for this in Iraq, as both the Baathists and Qaedists could count on only minority support in Iraq during the best of days.

    The proper course now, as it was three years ago, is to provide aerial, diplomatic, financial, intel, and materiel support to the natural leadership of Iraq. This analysis assumes, however, that the 85% Shia-Kurdish majority would have been able to deprive the Sunnis of their status as the major exporters of violence on their own. It is possible that the 15% minority, being composed of Baathists and Qaedists skilled in terror, would have been able to emerge victorious. This is unlikely, but tradition and expertise do count for something.

    It's important to note that my argument against our continued occupation of Iraq is practical, not moral. Just as Bush has failed to properly educate the public on the goals of the war, the Democrats have failed to communicate sane criticisms against the war. By remaining silent/Kerryesque, the Democrats have helped only the Republicans, who are able to paint the opposition as reckless pacifists, and the Left, who are able to paint the loyal opposition as closet warmongers.

    A last word on irony: we may have lost in Iraq if the Sunni Arabs had been wise enough to repeat their performance under the British of being a pliant minority during a short occupation. A returned Sunni Arab minority system in Iraq would have been another gross betrayal of democracy in the region, merely entrenching an already dysfunctional ruleset. This indeed may have happened, if L. Paul Bremer had not disbanded the Iraqi Army and sent the message “We do not trust you” to that community. If so, that was the greatest act of the entire war other than Bush's initial go-ahead.

  4. Dan, do you think that the Iraqis can stand on theire already?

    I am not sure that q uick US exit would not be sending a message of weakness and “well its back to normal now for the US” to Iran an dthe others. WOuld this not embolden Iranto do do even more to subvert the Iraqi government?

    There is a certain war weariness in the US. I think after/if the US exits Iraq, there will not be a “next action” or “continuation” of significance until the next major bad action aganst the US. The US wil reurn into reactive mode while the enemy gains strength.

  5. As I commented to Shlock [1] when he posted this:

    “Lind is right to criticize Bush for going to his much, but Lind’s view of minimalist victory is much closer to everyone else’s view of defeat. Lind’s 'victory' reads like an openly an implacably hostile Iraq .

    The rest of what he writes is pretty reasonable. Too bad he isn’t more of a help to those good ideas he does have.”

    [1] http://www.shloky.com/?p=750#comments

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