Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Deutch: Get 'Em Out.

Former CIA director John Deutch called for a full withdrawal of US troops in Iraq. Deutch made those comments during the Phi Beta Kappa oration at Harvard University:

"I believe that we are not making progress on our key objectives in Iraq," Deutch said. "There may be days when security seems somewhat improved and when the Iraqi government appears to be functioning better, but the underlying destabilizing forces of a robust insurgency and warring factions supported by outside governments is undiminished."

"Our nation embarks on an especially perilous course when it proactively engages in some regions of the world with the intention of achieving a government based on our values," Deutch said. "It is one matter to adopt a foreign policy that encourages democratic values and institutions in other parts of the world. It is quite another matter to believe it just or practical to achieve such results on the ground with U.S. military forces."

Deutch claims that remaining in Iraq may further damage America's international credibility and capability to deter rogue nations such as North Korea. We all know I am firmly against the war in Iraq.

I also believe that we need to establish a clear exit strategy in Iraq. We must create well defined goals and a timetable to achieve such results. I'm not a big fan of the Dennis Kucinich "let's get 'em out right now" approach. Doing so will only lead to a more chaotic milieu in Iraq. What do you guys think? How have we done in Iraq? Should a firm timetable for departure be set?


Blogger mindful said...

I think the only timetable should be that set by the Iraqi people themselves. No matter what Saddam did to the country before we invaded, we are responsible for the poor security situation now. It is not right for us to leave the burgeoning representative Iraqi government defenseless against its fundamentalist enemies. We should leave when Iraq tells us it feels safe, not before and not after.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Raine said...

I don't know. It all makes my head hurt.

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem, mindful, is that there isn't an "Iraq." It's like saying George Bush should leave office when the American people tell him to.

At this point in time, it should be an international force and not a US force there. The fundamentalists are more against the US than anything else. If we move out, we take the wind out of their sails by taking out the very core of their argument: down with the imperialist, capitalist american pigs.

7:37 PM  
Blogger thc said...

Vavoom: What makes you think that an exit strategy hasn't been established? And how do you know that specific goals and a timetable are not in place? Just because they have not been announced publicly doesn't mean they don't exist.

The very last thing we should do is to announce to the terrorists in Iraq what our parameters for leaving are. That wouldn't be very smart, would it?

9:06 PM  
Blogger mindful said...

hamel: I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure George Bush will leave office when the American people tell him to, ie, when his term ends in Jan. 2009. And I don't know what you mean when you say there is no "Iraq". There's certainly a government there now, however much you might doubt its legitimacy. Since we've set them up, we should listen to them when they tell us when to get out.

I agree with you that the force in Iraq should be more international. But why isn't it? Because nobody else is willing to contribute more. Pulling out US troops is not going to make France start sending in their own. And somehow I don't think the fundamentalists would disappear if the US were suddenly to pull out. You don't think they are after power in their own right?

thc: I agree completely. Why should we put the ball in their court?

9:30 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

I liken this situation to two countries... Germany and Poland. Poland pretty much got ripped to shreds over an over again by countries invading and taking over, then moving on. Luckily, no one wanted to go in there from a neighboring country to set up shop. Germany wound up being occupied by the Allies. Problem was that they had different ideas of how to get them on their feet and so Russia and the U.S. occupied the areas and held their stance until pretty much 1990.

If we level a country, we need to make sure they can survive on their own before we walk away. Otherwise, we should ask Pakistan or Syria to cover our war costs and let them fight over it. The only responsible thing to do now is get them on their feet. And yes, announcing an exit strategy or any strategy but disinformation during a war is counterproductive.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

You all raise good and interesting points. I'm not for sending out a press release to insurgents, per se. However, It simply isn't clear that this administration has made any decisions about a pullout based upon their actions. I asked for input on how you feel we're doing in Iraq to get a gauge of how well we're helping Iraq get back on it's feet. Is the US doing enough to ensure that that this war ends in a quick and effective manner? If not, how are we able to plan an exit strategy?

With regards to an international force, I agree with hamel. One should be in place. At this point, our efforts in Iraq should be largely to restore order. This is where the UN should come in. Unfortunately, the UN is a massive failure. If they cannot act in situations such as these, then what are they good for?

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Daniel Berczik said...

Way back before the beginning of time, just after September 11, the NYT ran two editorials, one from Tom Friedman and the other from Susan Sontag. Each tried to make an argument that what we were facing wasn't a war because there was no visible end. Which is a non sequitur.

Talk of exit strategies are all well and good only if the war goes according to plan. We know from history that battle plans generally get thrown out the minute the first shot is fired. It's my (lame) opinion that the administration realizes that announcing an exit strategy would doom it outright, thus requiring a new exit strategy which would presumably be published according to precedent, which would necessarily be scuttled, etc.

My suspicion is that the effort in Iraq is somewhere between the glowing reports from the Pentagon and the quagmire CW coming from the MSM.

As for international forces, Vavoom says it best. Indeed, what is the UN good for? It is too mired in scandal and has a (in my opinion, deserved) reputation for impotency.

Finally to hamel:

I'm not so sure that we can be certain that the fundamentalists are against the US more than anything. Yes, they want the Americans out, but more so that they can establish an Islamist regime and restore the Caliphate. This is their stated purpose. Fortunately, millions of democratically minded Iraqis are there and I doubt (or at least hope) that they will give up consensual government so easily.

8:19 AM  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

The situation is such a mess in Iraq now, I am not sure what will help us to withdraw and ultimately the Iraqi people in the long run.
This is a painful and frustrating subject for me.

As someone who was opposed to the US going into Iraq in the first place, I am angry and frustrated with all the lives lost and the money spent for a war that is not really about us. We have so many problems here at home to fix, and now are billions of dollars in the hole.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Xenia said...

I agree with Daniel Berczik that there can be no published exit strategy, but I don't think that is the only reason that we are not getting a clear explanation of how the government and military plan to end this activity. I think it is more because they have no real plan to end it.

They have show with their sudden interest in Iran that our efforts to "spread Democracy in the region are not complete. Yet we underfund the solutions for the autrocoties occuring daily in Africa and ignore the crazy man running North Korea.

Beyond that, even here we are no longer protecting the freedoms and way of life that we are supposedly out fighting for. If the Congress passes the Patriot Act permanently then we might as well accept that the Constitution is not the basis of our government - it is now fear and paranoia.

Iraq was a mistake from the beginning but we cannot just walk away from the mess. I think we need to step up the efforts to train the Iraqi police force, give more power to the people and make every effort to leave it better than how we picked it up (it isn't all that much better right now). But I also think it is important that those of us that are not overseas fighting the war, are at home fighting to give our soldiers a country worth defending and worth coming home to.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous little john said...

I agree with thc, Daniel, et al. Read Norman Poderetz's much discussed article regarding World War IV and the Bush Doctrine. It's long but well worth it.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Daniel Berczik said...

I find it interesting that a certain viewpoint is that this conflict must have a finite period and that some timetable must, above all, be followed. We are locked in a battle for survival. There was no exit strategy in WWII except to win. When we win, that will be the end and it won't come until then.

To contend that everything must go according to some script is naive and destructive.

7:19 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

I'll answer your question, Vavoom. I think we are doing well in restoring some structure to Iraq. Training of their military is going very well and many of them are taking the lead in recent fighting in Mosul and Falluja. A sad but strong statistic to view would be how many of the Iraqi forces have been injured or lost their lives as opposed to our own in the last few months. This means they are out there fighting to keep what freedom they've gotten a taste of. As for feeling if they are doing enough to bring it to a quick end, I can't say because I do not know. I'd like to believe the media tells us all we need to know about what's happening over there but they can't and shouldn't. The more we know, the more the opposition knows. When we first went in there, I was watching these imbedded journalists with the thought that one statement like "We are just south of Damascus and..." 2 minutes later a spread of missiles hit their area. I'd rather not know anything that can harm our forces. So with limited knowledge, there will be lots of questions as to what, where, how and why but I'd rather wait for hindsight.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Rattie said...

As a Canadian I should remain silent on the issue or else you'd ban me from your blog, I'm sure!

8:53 AM  

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