Free-Range Turkey?


At risk of being tarred with the dreaded pessimist brush, I note that U.S. plans for introducing Turkish troops to Iraq leave Iraqis cold. Who says so? Why none other than a spokesman for a Pentagon favorite, the Iraqi National Congress.

Moreover, the Iraqi Governing Council takes the rather common-sense position that no troops from neighboring countries should enter Iraq. Partitions happen when neighbors refuse to leave.

Then there is the little matter of actually getting Turks into the country. Assuming they'd never be stationed among Kurdish populations, they still have to go over, around, or through Kurdish areas to deploy. They might need U.S. protection every step of the way.


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  1. Just curious:

    Are there any libertarians left at Reason who are glad the US government liberated the Iraqis and removed Saddam’s boot from their neck (and eliminated our need to stay in Saudi Arabia), or did all of you prefer the prewar status quo?

  2. I am, too, but I agree with JAT on the Turkey issue. Some additional troops in the country would be useful, but inviting the Turks in — even into central Iraq, not the north — is likely to cause more trouble than it’s worth. They were the imperial power for centuries in Iraq, and this is a place of long memories.

    A better plan would be to seek more Turkish participation in Afghanistan, freeing up some U.S. forces for other uses. However, this would have to be done carefully so as not to antagonize the Pashtuns, who continue to spar with the Turkic-speaking Uzbeks.

  3. Count me as a me-too, and I like Mr. Hood’s idea regarding using the Turks as a force multiplier (heck, why not send a brigade to South Korea?). Moreover, this could present a real propaganda opportunity for the US, in that we could ostentatiously “defer to the judgement” of the Iraqi Congress, thus demonstrating that their authority is something to be taken seriously.

    … but I fear that that’s too subtle a scheme to ever happen.

  4. Yes I agree that Turkish troops in Iraq is a bad idea. A very bad idea. It was a bad idea before the war and it’s a bad idea now.

  5. Not me. This is no different than the Union robbing the Confederates of their human and other legitimate property.

  6. Comparing Saddam to Hitler is hilarious and rediculous at the same time….i think most sane people realize this. One posed a direct threat to his neighbors, and the other didn’t even control most of his own country (i’ll let you guess which one was which).

    And, i guess, the slaughter 200 thousand or so civilians in places like Dresden and Hamburg by allied bombing during WWII makes a few thousand Iraqi civilian deaths look pretty meaningless by comparison.

  7. I’m all for it. Bringing in the Turks is a bad idea, though – it stinks of the coalition-for-its-own-sake multilateral idiocy that allowed things to get this bad in the first place.

    If the Turks are all hot to kill their fellow Middle Easterners, well, I certainly understand that, but why not send them to Afghanistan, or (here’s an idea) tell them if they clean house in Syria, they can keep it.

  8. Well Matt, how many innocent civilians died and how much treasure was spent removing Hitler from power?

  9. hi matthew

    is this a comparison between SH and AH? that’s a bit of a stretch. but, weren’t there tons of rebuilding problems and entnazification problems for years in germany, too? yugoslavia and europe are arguably “better off” with (more or less) democracies, too. and that would be a reason for us to get out of europe. i guess the “world is better off” argument works there, too. Haiti. you bet, at least in the region. Panama. sure why not. grenada. um… anyhow…

    and, how do you feel about north korea? or about the millions massacred in africa by those various dictators? are we now empowered to go after them? or is this an “oil and israel” argument where those interests trump the human interest? if so, why not fall back on those arguments? they’re tangible, they’re real, and the US interest in both is undeniably clear to all.

    since we’re in iraq, i know that discussions about “should we/shouldn’t we” are pointless, but the “the world is a better place” argument as a final fall-back justification is unacceptable as yet and it’s as strange as listening to people criticize clinton’s draft dodging, while defending rush L’s or danny quayle’s dodging.

    also, 30 years ago, we could have said that the world without the Shah of iran would be a better place. look what replaced it. it’s too early to use that argument now. let’s see if the US can win the peace for a change. or will this become a “we hate nation building” again as soon as president hilary takes the reigns?

    and in terms of the “world is better off” test, this doesn’t come close to the beauty of the berlin wall falling… nov 9, 1989… what a day!



  10. The removal of Saddam from power was a very good thing, no question. But it is not the only factor to be considered. Even the best events have drawbacks (collapse of the Soviet empire=loose nukes) and even the worst have advantages (Tito kept the Croats, Serbs, and Bosnians from killing each other for decades). Let’s try to analyze this like adults, and not throw out “Saddam’s gone” as if it was some kind of trump card.

  11. but it is a trump card. evil has been vanquished from the face of the earth!

  12. Compared to how much this is costing us, I’d vote for the “pre-war status quo.” But that was billions of dollars and thousands of Iraqi civillians ago….

  13. If the Turks are hidden away to protect infrastructure, will it be that much of a problem?

  14. Are they any libertarians with two ounces of grey matter in their heads, or are they all emprisoned in their pathetic and narrow-minded convictions?

    I was doing a search for free-range turkeys, hence why I ended on your forum. I found a lot of turkey talk indeed. Keep on gobbling guys, you’re amuzing the grown ups.

  15. EMAIL:

    DATE: 12/11/2003 12:06:52
    God had some serious quality-control problems.

  16. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/10/2004 04:03:34
    If you understand, things are as they are. If you do not understand, things are as they are.

  17. EMAIL:
    DATE: 05/19/2004 08:36:52
    A brute kills for pleasure. A fool kills from hate.

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