Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What Happens if We Leave Iraq?

There is a growing political argument to leave Iraq. Some Republicans have jumped ship to ask the President for a new course. The Senate exercised more political theatrics last night by staying up all night to debate calling for a withdrawal from Iraq. In the end, the bill failed. I think we have all seen a lot of debate on whether or not we should be in Iraq. But what would happen if we left?

As the war in Iraq has been fought, many have drawn comparisons with the U.S. war in Vietnam. At the end of the Vietnam War, the U.S. Military was winning on the ground. However, the political war was being lost. Much like then, our enemies in Iraq know that while they can’t beat our military, they can use our media to defeat our political will. There have been 3,600 military deaths in Iraq to date. For a “bloody civil war” that is a relatively low body count. The deaths in Iraq are nothing compared to what happened in Vietnam.

At the end of Vietnam, when our politicians voted to cut off all funding to our allies, there was an incredible blood bath. The North Vietnamese swept into South Vietnam and brutally killed and tortured untold numbers. The Khmer Rouge killed an estimated 2 million people in Cambodia. This was done in the name of giving the people of that region peace. Is this the peace we want for Iraq?

I think we should all take a step back and try to imagine a world where the President has given in to the demands of the Democratic Party and pulled out of Iraq. If we were to leave, Al-Queda and Iran would quickly carve up the pieces of Iraq they wanted like a Thanksgiving feast. Turkey would probably move in to grab the Kurdish area of Iraq. Iraqis would try to resist all of this. There would be violence in Iraq unlike anything we have seen there to date. Very likely, this violence would spread into the surrounding areas as well.

And in case you’re thinking, “That is tragic, but at least American soldiers won’t be trapped there anymore.” They wouldn’t be in Iraq, but they would still be in Afghanistan. What would that suddenly look like? Our enemies would draw their own comparisons. If they look back at our history, at Vietnam, at Beirut, at Somalia, and now at Iraq, what lesson would they learn? They would quickly learn that Osama bin Laden is right; if you hit the United States hard enough, it will walk away. If they study their history, what do you think they would do in Afghanistan? And how long before those same politicians who are now saying that we need to focus on Afghanistan decide that the death toll in Afghanistan is now too much?

People can argue on what the best course of action is in Iraq. Do we ignore the short term political gain for a possible long term gain with a stable Iraq? Do we stand by an ally and help to repair our image or do we live up to the “Paper Tiger” label? Do we decide that our military doesn’t know what it’s doing and 3,600 deaths is simply too many in war? And exactly what should we tell our allies that are now going to suffer violence we can only begin to imagine?


Andy D said...

As an update to this and a few of my other Iraq articles, I wanted to share this article I found on Drudge today. Here is a key quote from the article entitled “Al-Qaeda faces rebellion from the ranks,” but I encourage everyone to read it:

“The ground-breaking move in Doura is part of a wider trend that has started in other al-Qaeda hotspots across the country and in which Sunni insurgent groups and tribal sheikhs have stood together with the coalition against the extremist movement.”

BGRAY said...

I think you offer a fair analysis of the situation but I do think your logic falls short in some senses. Tell what a stable Iraq is- a functioning democracy, objective and nontampered voting, security? The very fundamental aspects of a democratic soul in a country must come from within. A foreign presense in many ways inhernetly contridicts the very values we want to install in the country.