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December 13, 2005

US Plans Departure, Iraq Wants Us to Stay

American and Britian do indeed have a plan for pulling out of Iraq

BRITAIN and America are planning a phased withdrawal of their forces from Iraq as soon as a permanent government is installed in Baghdad after this week’s elections.

In a move that has caused alarm in the outgoing Iraqi administration, American and British officials have made clear that they regard the end of Iraq’s two-and-a-half-year transitional period as the green light to begin withdrawing some of their combined force of around 170,000 troops as early as March.

A senior Western diplomat in Baghdad said yesterday: “One of the first things we will talk about (with the new Iraqi government) is the phased transfer of security, particularly in cities and provinces. It will happen progressively over the next year.”
The Americans have increased their troop levels to help to bolster security for the elections on Thursday. But they are planning to pull out 30,000 by the new year and may reduce their presence below 100,000 in the coming months. US forces have already handed over security in Najaf and Karbala provinces and in city centres such as Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s home town.

This is quite a bit different from the Murtha plan, which would have started immediately and completed by May. Instead, it's a slower drawdown.
The moves appear to run contrary to statements by President Bush and John Reid, the Defence Secretary, who insist that coalition forces will not “cut and run” and will stay until the mission in Iraq is complete.

The London Times seems to have forgotten about the 400+ US Congressmen who voted against the cut-and-run strategy as well. And the second paragraph of this very article lays out the idea that the pullout of troops has been contingent on the final elections for the full government, not some artificial timetable worked up because John Murtha thought we were losing.

But guess who's not so hot on this idea?

Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, told The Times yesterday that a hasty exit risked plunging the country into a new bout of violence.

“Those who advocate an early withdrawal do not know what is at stake. The huge investment in blood and money sacrificed by the US could be squandered.

“There would be regional interventions by neighbouring countries and others. The fate of this country and the whole region could be endangered,” he said.

The move to hand over security to the 225,000 Iraqi soldiers and police who have now been trained for active duty comes in the face of mounting public pressure in both Britain and the US to disengage from Iraq, amid the rising death toll and spiralling costs.

And it is the Left that is saying both that we should leave now, and that if there is a civil war in Iraq it's our fault, not apparently realizing that their cries for the former would cause the latter. But they blame Bush for both ends of the spectrum. I understand they don't think we should be there in the first place, but at this point in time it's incredibly disingenuous to Blame Bush(tm) for not doing what they want, and then Blame Bush(tm) for the results of doing what they want.

But the big news here is that a high-ranking Iraqi official wants us to stay, and essentially for the same reasons the Bush administration has been using. Frankly, you don't create a democracy--and especially all the concepts that entails--out of whole cloth overnight. If there was ever a place for UN peacekeepers, it would be here; in a fledgling democracy where the culture and the mindset regarding how to settle disputes needs to shift into self-government mode. (I doubt that will happen; it would be a tacit admission by the UN that there's a real peace to keep, and we can't have that.) But while that transition is happening, it's clear the Iraqi government would like us to stick around for a bit.

Posted by Doug at December 13, 2005 01:20 PM

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Doug writes: And it is the Left that is saying both that we should leave now, and that if there is a civil war in Iraq it's our fault, not apparently realizing that their cries for the former would cause the latter.

This isn't what "the Left" is saying.

It would be easier to respond to your criticisms if you would take the trouble of directing them at real people— or even coherent groupings of real people.

Posted by: s9 at December 13, 2005 05:48 PM

The stories you cite are internal memos from the Iraqi interim puppet government to the Bush adminstration-it was planted in the press by reporters, and assets of both Chalabi and some disgruntled White house and intellegence operatives.
It is a Christmas wrapped fabrication, not to be opened after the upcoming phony elections.
If you are looking for an exit strategy that has a chance of success and will get us out of Iraq-before Hilliary in the third year of her hawkish regime-decides to begin a 'real" withdrawal,
go to the blog: sevenpointman

Posted by: howard roberts at December 14, 2005 02:21 AM

s9, the Left has been pushing to leave now (or in Murtha's words, "hereby terminate") for a long, long time. Pelosi herself has now thrown her support behind it. Everybody supporting Ms. Sheehan's crusade are asking for that. This is not news.

I have no doubt that if civil war were to break out in Iraq, the Left would be all on Bush's case for causing it. I'm so certain of it because they've been predicting it, or even suggesting that was actually the plan, for such a long time already.

Now, those on the Right also think that a premature pullout could possibly leave conditions for civil war. However, they're not suggesting that we should leave before the job's done; the Left is, and that's a big difference. Thus, as I said, the Left gripes about not leaving now, and if a civil war erupts if we do what they ask, they'd gripe, as they already are, about Bush causing the results.

And folks like Mr. Roberts above would not catch the disingenuousness.

Posted by: Doug Payton at December 14, 2005 09:36 AM


A civil war between the Sunni and the Shites will probably never happen-if we stay or go. The perception of this transpiring with the ridiculous idea that most insurgents are terrorists, has been used as a tool to remain in Iraq, without a clear exit strategy.
You say we should stay until we do the job.
And what would that job be?

Send another 10,000 dead soldiers home-or 25, 000 amputees for Bush and his quest for oil and profit.

Those who are for staying the course jeopardize the lives and limbs of our finest young men and woman-when a withdrawal
that my seven-point plan indicates, would allow these people to enjoy the rest of their days with their friends and families-
help Iraq build a democracy-and put us back on track as part of a global movement of solidarity with all nations.
The British polled a huge segment the population-82% wanted us out as soon as possible. Of course this was deleted from all but the eyes of those trustworthy patriots who read alternative sources-rather than being brainwashed by the Pravda-tactics of the corporate media.
Check out my plan-and get back to me.
This war is not an issue of whose on the left or right but who has the strength to hold up the middle when the walls cave in.

Posted by: howard roberts at December 14, 2005 12:45 PM