Iraq

You Can't Get Out If You Don't Dive In

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Last night President Bush explained why removing U.S. troops from Iraq would mean keeping them there and why sending more troops is the only way to achieve a withdrawal:

Many are concerned that the Iraqis are becoming too dependent on the United States, and therefore, our policy should focus on protecting Iraq's borders and hunting down al Qaeda. Their solution is to scale back America's efforts in Baghdad—or announce the phased withdrawal of our combat forces. We carefully considered these proposals. And we concluded that to step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government, tear the country apart, and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale. Such a scenario would result in our troops being forced to stay in Iraq even longer, and confront an enemy that is even more lethal. If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home.

This is a tough sell, and not just because an extra 20,000 troops are unlikely to be the difference between war and peace in Iraq. If withdrawal is unthinkable, what will concentrate the minds of Iraq's leaders, who are expected any year now to maintain law and order on their own? "If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises," Bush warned, "it will lose the support of the American people." Since most of the American people think invading Iraq was a mistake and want to get out as expeditiously as possible, I'm not sure the Iraqi government has their support to lose. Presumably Bush means the Iraqi government would lose the support of the American government. But how would that loss of support be manifested, since the Bush administration is committed to stay indefinitely, lest the Iraqi government collapse?

This was Bush's response when congressional leaders asked him why he thought the troop surge will succeed: "Because it has to." God help us.

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  1. The Dem won’t dare not funding this, lest they be seen to “not support the troops”.

  2. This was Bush’s response when congressional leaders asked him why he thought the troop surge will succeed: “Because it has to.” God help us.

    Wow. Just . . . wow.

  3. “Because it has to” sums up the depth of this man’s thinking from day one. It amazes me that he still has supporters. Then when I remember that most Americans believe in the Genesis version of creation, it stops amazing me.

  4. *Bush’s response when congressional leaders asked him why he thought the troop surge will succeed: “Because it has to.” *

    Why not, “Because God told me it will”?

  5. It’s hard to belive that Bush is really calling the shots. On the other hand, why would whoever is calling the shots choose him as the figurehead?

  6. The way I see it if we surge, we will just escalate the level of violence (not to mention provide more targets for the insurgents). 20,000 troops is not enough to help stabilize Iraq. More American deaths; clearly unacceptable.

    If we withdraw, the current Iraqi government (overall, friendly to the US) collapses, Iraq becomes a puppet of Iran/Syria, mass slaughter of everyone suspected of “working with the Americans” will ensue, and Iraq will become a haven for terrorists. This, of course, is unacceptable.

    Doing nothing (i.e. keeping troop levels the same) will just bring more of the same, with the steady drip of American casualties day by day and the steady sinking of American treasure into an unwinnable war, which is unacceptable.

    Of the three unacceptable options, I’m inclined to favor withdrawal and be ready to break out the nukes if/when Iraq/Iran becomes a threat to us. It’s a sad option, all those 3100+ American lives wasted, all that $500,000,000,000 burned…

  7. Then when I remember that most Americans believe in the Genesis version of creation, it stops amazing me.

    Although, I know the majority of Americans believe in a Creator, I’m not sure that implies that they believe in Genesis. Do you know this for a fact or are you just venting?

  8. NAL’s unacceptable outcomes show why America must tread very, very carefully before commiting to a volitional war. “We” had better vastly improve our intelligence services before we next conclude the bully is actually threatening us and means it. And come up with ways to neutralize threatening bullies without killing thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of repressed citizens in the bully’s country.

  9. NAL, I was venting, but not completely wrong.

    I found these surveys after a quick search.

    It seems to hover around 50%. Whether or not it’s Genesis they believe in, they certainly don’t believe in evolution, which is as demonstrably true as Genesis is demonstrably false. And I do suspect that those who support our president are more likely to reject the evidence for evolution than those who always suspected he was a spoiled, brain dead frat boy without an intellectually curious bone in his body.

    Thanks for making me clarify. It will improve my future rants.

  10. Well, I think most people back in 2000 took him at his word that he was a conservative who was opposed to nation building exercises similar to the one Clinton got us into. I mean, he, by no means seemed particularly brilliant, but he was passable. He seemed exactly like the sort who would help enact a few conservative ideas, but mostly just keep things as they were.

    By 2004, I have no idea why people still voted for him beyond their dislike of Kerry and the Democrats.

  11. I believe a better title to this thread is the NIN song ‘The Way out is Through.’

    NAL: compliments on the Damned if you don’t, damned if you don’t, damned if you do break down. I have been saying that for years.

  12. Kerry ran an abysmal campaign and was hit with very good smears. “Dislike of Kerry and the Democrats,” combined with “Unwillingness to change horses in midstream,” would have been sufficient to reelect, well, an actual horse. The fact that Bush didn’t win in a landslide shows the weakness of the Republican Party in general.

  13. Kerry ran an abysmal campaign and was hit with very good smears. “Dislike of Kerry and the Democrats,” combined with “Unwillingness to change horses in midstream,” would have been sufficient to reelect, well, an actual horse. The fact that Bush didn’t win in a landslide shows the weakness of the Republican Party in general.

    In 2004, the Iraq war was still young and looking like it was progressing reasonably well. I think that contributed to the public’s “Unwillingness to change horses”. Honestly, I don’t think a President Kerry would have done much differently…

  14. what of the possibility that the 20,000 troops is just a figure Bush is throwing out but that the actual number might be much larger?

  15. “It’s a sad option, all those 3100+ American lives wasted, all that $500,000,000,000 burned…”

    The even worse tragedy is the 20,000 plus deaths of Iraqis, many civilians and the very likelihood that figure will skyrocket.

    On another note, 20,000 extra troops would seem to make little difference if peppered around the whole of Iraq. But if all are concentrated in Baghdad perhaps that could make a difference.

  16. If we increase our support at this crucial moment

    Somebody, quick — get a Polaroid. This moment will last forever.

    and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence

    What makes you think the Iraqis want to “break” the cycle? Looks a lot more like they want to break each other.

    Maybe, the time has come that we should let them.

    we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home.

    This will occur immediately following that moment that lasted forever.

  17. I’m inclined to favor withdrawal and be ready to break out the nukes if/when Iraq/Iran becomes a threat to us.

    Must agree. Although, we really do need to look seriously at finding deterrents somewhere between “Air Drop GI Joe” and “Air Drop A-Bomb”.

  18. Although, we really do need to look seriously at finding deterrents somewhere between “Air Drop GI Joe” and “Air Drop A-Bomb”. – GK

    Dividing the country up along ethnic/religious lines (see the former Republic of Yugoslavia) makes the most sense. Of course, this basically ends up with the Kurds in control of the oil fields, which would undoubtedly piss NATO-ally Turkey off – but that strikes me as broken eggs to make an omelet…

    How about withdrawal under Congressional authorization to conduct air support missions (air-to-ground attack missions most likely, but air-to-air as well if necessary – much like Operations Northern & Southern Watch) in support of the current government to prevent insurgents and foreign powers from overthrowing the democratically elected government of Iraq.

    This gets U.S. ground troops out, puts the people who live there in charge of maintaining domestic security on the ground, and prevents the N. Vietnam invading S. Vietnam scenario that many people are as concerned about as they are about the potential for outright civil war/overthrow of each of the new, smaller nation’s government.

    How’s that work for ya? (Frankly, I think it has a lot more to recommend it than the most recent plan joe has floated – which basically boils down to “US out of Iraq, into every neghboring Middle Eastern nation.”

  19. “Of course, this basically ends up with the Kurds in control of the oil fields, which would undoubtedly piss NATO-ally Turkey off – but that strikes me as broken eggs to make an omelet…”

    That threat is dealt with easily enough – we lean on the Kurdish government to rein in groups making mischeif in Turkey, in exchange for security guarantees and economic assistance. This is an opportunity to improve relations between the Turks and Kurds.

    ‘most recent plan joe has floated – which basically boils down to “US out of Iraq, into every neghboring Middle Eastern nation.”‘

    I don’t have the foggiest idea what this is supposed to mean. I haven’t recommended invading any other country. I’ve recommended your plan, plus a force stationed in Kurdistan and diplomacy with the other nations in the Middle East. Are you thinking of someone else?

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