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And then what?

President Bush is planning on vetoing the Iraq funding bill, citing the presence of a deadline for withdrawal. So, just what would happen if the United States withdrew from Iraq?

Initially, I think it would be fairly calm. There would be some attacks against our forces, as the various and sundry factions would each try to get the "final" attack on us that gives them the bragging rights for "driving out the infidels."

After that, though, there would be a brief calm period, as the factions work out their strategies.

It would be the calm before the storm - or, as a certain French monarch said, "le deluge."

"Bloodbath" would be a bit of an understatement.

The first victims of the carnage would be those people who had the foolish audacity to trust in the United States, who were a part of the current government and cooperated with us. I'm just pulling numbers out of the air here, but I'd speculate that 80% would be executed - probably in as grisly a way as possible. Another 10% would flee the nation, but 10% or so would be kept as figureheads and tokens to provide a "beard" or "fig leaf" for whatever form of government emerges.

The next thing that would happen would be a withdrawal of nearly all the Kurds into their home region for self-defense. This would be merely the latest in a long, long string of betrayals, abandonments, and blind eyes that the West has given the Kurds.

After this betrayal (after all, it's not that different from what we did to the Kurds after the first Gulf War, except this time we made even more grandiose promises), I would not be surprised if the Kurds decide that enough's enough; it's time for their own independent state of Kurdistan.

Which would not sit to well with its neighbors.

Both Iran and Turkey have sizable Kurdish populations, and neither has a great record of tolerance for them. Turkey has openly said that it will not tolerate an independent Kurdistan, and would take action to prevent it.

(Recall that was one of the elements behind Turkey's refusal to allow us to mount our initial invasion of Iraq from their territory, a move that left about half our invasion force in ships schlepping around Africa when the invasion kicked off, ruining the planned pincer movement.)

And Iran? Won't they be too busy meddling in the south of Iraq to worry about the north?

I think not.

The one advantage of a US withdrawal from Iraq would be that it would keep Iran too busy for a few years, too busy to cause trouble outside its immediate area.

The downside of that, however, is what will happen to Iraq.

Iran's best interests are served by a weak Iraq. Preferably, one ruled by Shi'ite theocrats, much like itself, but ones subservient to Iran's mullahs. Their ideal situation is Iraq as a client state, with the Shi'ites in control, the Sunnis an oppressed minority, and the Kurds... well, they can just go away. Maybe go to Turkey and be their problem.

This would give Iran access to Iraq's oil reserves, as well as a good look at just what the United States is capable of militarily - and not. They're already using Iraq as a way to study our hardware, our troops, and our doctrine.

Finally, the worst long-term consequence of an American pullout would be to our international standing.

Folks say that right now, the United States' reputation is pretty much in the toilet, and we couldn't be more reviled and disliked and loathed around the world. I don't think it's quite that bad, but one thing that is hard to dispute is our capacity to declare our intent - and carry it out. That reputation would be severely battered, if not shredded -- and the consequences would be tremendous. We would find ourselves challenged on many fronts, and in each case we'd have to decide whether to let that perception stand, or refute it -- at a very expensive price.

One frequent criticism of the Bush administration's policy on Iraq was that they didn't do enough planning ahead. Well, that can be laid at the feet of the "pull out" advocates as well. I've been looking for plans and ideas and notions and schemes for what happens afterward, and haven't seen a damned thing. As far as I can tell, our troops pull out of Iraq (mostly deploying to nearby areas, such as "coming home" or just around the corner in Okinawa) and then everything is just sunshine and daisies, because now pretty much everyone agrees that it was that awful, icky George W. Bush who started the whole problem.

The best I can discern, the "cut and run" crowd's strategy is this:

1) Get the troops out of Iraq, rendering the whole argument about whether the war has been lost moot.

2) Blame the war and the loss on Bush and the Republicans.

3) Hang Bush around the necks of the Republicans, and use that to win more seats in Congress, as well as the White House, in 2008.

That's pretty much where it ends. To describe that as "short-sighted" would be a grotesque understatement. It makes Mr. Magoo look like a Marine sniper.

There's far, far more at stake here than the political balance in the United States -- but you'd never know that from listening to the "cut and run" crowd. In the old days, it was said that politics ends at the water's edge. Now, it's foresight that stops at the oceans.


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Comments (30)

Mr. Magoo in '08!... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Mr. Magoo in '08!

"And then what?"Yo... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"And then what?"

You have a great record of predicting the situation in Iraq, so I am sure everyone is taking your opinion very seriously.

I know I am.

Way to miss JT's whole poin... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Way to miss JT's whole point.

Criticism is not a plan.

Like in the movie War Games... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

Like in the movie War Games, "the only way to win is not to play." Genie is out of the bottle, toothpaste out of the tube, etc. When we invaded with no plan to win the peace and allowed the various factions to arm themselves from Saddam's massive arsenals which we just overran, the die was cast.

If you have a plan to win without prohibitive casualties on either the American or Iraqi side, I'd like to hear it.

Jay Tea: I cheated and just... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Jay Tea: I cheated and just pasted this from my comment at Kim's post, but it's relevant here at your Big Picture post (and no, W is not in my calculus. He's a rich kid who will just find something more pleasant to distract him in the future. He'll "try to forget", as Oliver Hardy would say.

Once upon a time Osama bin Ladin told the US to get out of Saudi Arabia. And we did (97%). Was that cutting and running?

The key is to find where the opposing sides' interests intersect.

Iran was cooperative after 9/11, but Bush insisted on naming them an element of the Axis of Evil. We should reverse policy and begin a rapproachment there and with Syria. They are both more than willing and able influence events in our mutual direction.

Secondly, allow Afghanistan to share the world opium concession with Turkey as an economic basis for stability and to undermine funding source of outlaw groups.


In Iraq, the Shiites are indisputably under the sway of Sistani. Allow him to form a government in the Shiite provinces.

Allow Jordan and Syria to aid the Sunnis if neccessary.

Secretly put bounties of Wahhabist heads and scalps. Let the Kurds run it. They've always been mercenaries and it will put them on the good side of the Turks more often. Then they could have their own parallel interests

The End. (Books in the rear. Coffee..donuts...)

Secretly put bounties of... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Secretly put bounties of Wahhabist heads and scalps.

Secret assassination squads? You bloodthirsty Rethuglican. The Dems would have to hold Hearings on how Bush is a terrorist kill-bot if he did that. After SecretBounty-gate is leaked to the press, of course.

What a fine argument for co... (Below threshold)
Wieder:

What a fine argument for continuing to pour the bodies in!!!!

Let's just resolve this morass created by Bush & his puppeteer, Cheney, with all their lying pre-war propaganda w/ the endless pouring in of someone else's bodies to save the faces of the b-holes and their supporters.

It's a morass, and it is near-impossible to find a way out of the morass that you all slavered for. Meanwhile pour in the bodies lest the neo-cons and their salivating supporters ever dare need to admit their folly.

You Republican/libertarian know-it-alls created this mess...you are the ones who bare the responsibility to resolve it w/o endless deaths of innocents due to your ignorance of the real world and the lies you gobbled up because yopu are the true-believers in what amounted to shit propaganda..

Wieder: "It's a morass, ... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Wieder: "It's a morass, and it is near-impossible to find a way out of the morass that you all slavered for"

I admit to "slavering" for more ass when I was in High School and college...but I fail to see the connection. :)

Apparently the only thing the Left is "slavering" for is buying "Peace" at the expense of the Iraqi people. Old saying, still true: "Peace is NOT the absence of War!"

Remebmer it, Wieder.

JustrandPeace is p... (Below threshold)
Wieder:

Justrand

Peace is possibly the abscence of an untutored puppet whose ear is filled w/ the warmongering of a lying Darth Cheney.

The jig for you Wizbots is nearly up. Tentet's book and the Moyers special show what a fraudulent campaign has been waged by Bush and his suckophants.

"Apparently the only thing ... (Below threshold)
MB4:

"Apparently the only thing the Left is "slavering" for is buying "Peace" at the expense of the Iraqi people."

The mythical "Iraqi people" again. They are Muslim Sunnis and Muslim Shiites. That's about it.

Anyway I thought that the war was suppose to be in OUR interest.

Doesn't seem to be working out that way. Certainly not for our troops.

Nobody listens to Moyers.</... (Below threshold)
MB4:

Nobody listens to Moyers.

Darth Cheney?Sucko... (Below threshold)
MB4:

Darth Cheney?

Suckophants?

You sound so silly.

The war to topple Saddam an... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

The war to topple Saddam and rid us and the world of that ongoing menace was indeed for our benefit.

We won that war, thank you very much.

The current conflict (not really a war, btw) is ALSO for our benefit...because it is very much in our interest to see something, anything, in place in Iraq that will provide some stability. That is precisely why the our enemies are throwing EVERYTHING they have into the fight. If they lose (and a reasonably stable Iraq is a loss for them) then they are truly up the proverbial creek.

The stakes are huge. Sadly, the bad guys are much more aware of them than most Americans.

"As democracy is perfected,... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." ---July 26, 1920, H.L. Mencken in The Evening Sun.

Congratualtions Bushies........you got your wish.

(Recall that was one of the... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

(Recall that was one of the elements behind Turkey's refusal to allow us to mount our initial invasion of Iraq from their territory, a move that left about half our invasion force in ships schlepping around Africa when the invasion kicked off, ruining the planned pincer movement.)

Just me, but if I was President I would have asked Turkey's permission before I assumed I could use their country as an launching point for an invasion.

The first of countless missteps by Bush.

Hey Weider , Why don't "y... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

Hey Weider , Why don't "you" shut you lying "know it all" ass? The only ones lying are you and you traitorous Rat leaders. Democrats never tire of "Preaching to their Choir" and accusing people of lying when in fact it is only them that are doing the lying. You stupid Rats don't even know the definition of the word.

But hey, desparate criminal frauds got to do what they got to do and then lie about. These are people that claim a document is alive and breathing.

I had a fairly thoughtful r... (Below threshold)

I had a fairly thoughtful response set up for Wieder, then dumped it as not worth my time. Instead, I'll simply abide by his own standards.

Christ, Wieder, you better pray every night that Kos and Democratic Underground don't crash, or you'll be stuck without your regular talking points and have to rely on your own feeble wits. If I was playing Moonbat Bingo, I'd have scored within a couple sentences and I've almost got a cover-all.

Hey, how's that double-seekrit indictment of Karl Rove going? On top of all those other things, you might want to add in he violated the laws of physics on 9/11, when he made fire melt steel for the first time in history.

I'm really impressed with your courage. Considering how brutally oppressive Bushco is, how intolerant of dissent they are, you shoulda been hauled off to Guantanamo or some other internment camp.

Oh, and Bill Moyers? He's still trying to atone for all the lies he told as Lyndon Johnson's press secretary. He set one hell of a high standard there, but it didn't last long; Ron Ziegler blew him out of the water.

Also, Bill Moyers has just as many drunk-driving arrests as George W. Bush -- but Moyers' was in this century.

As far as Tenet's book -- I don't feel the need to take it apart. Dafydd ab Hugh already did.

J.

"That is precisely why the ... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

"That is precisely why the our enemies are throwing EVERYTHING they have into the fight. If they lose (and a reasonably stable Iraq is a loss for them) then they are truly up the proverbial creek."

Funny , this perfectly describes the Democrats stake in the matter. When are we going to treat them as such? THE ENEMY They have already chosen sides , what the hell are we waiting for?

Another repeat of "WHEN DEMOCRATS LIED THREE MILLION DIED"?

Wieder, you couldn't be mor... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Wieder, you couldn't be more wrong! Bush is Cheney's puppet.

Tenet:-Warned Condi ... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Tenet:
-Warned Condi of a 9/11 strike and Condi did nothing.
-Pearl used 9/11 to lobby for an Iraq attack even though the administration knew al Qaeda was responsible (see above)
-Cheney was/is a loose cannon


Devastating for Bush!!!

And then what..yes B... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

And then what..yes BarneyG2200 she was only President Bush's lightweight national security adviser I Don't Know What We Were Supposed To Preemptively Strike In Afghanistan' ..Who was Mr. Magoo? Bin Laden, in July 2001, was still thought to be Clinton's problem.

"Pearl used 9/11 to lobby f... (Below threshold)
Sue:

"Pearl used 9/11 to lobby for an Iraq attack even though the administration knew al Qaeda was responsible (see above)"

You know, it's only the ignorant and reading comprehension challenged liberals who think that we attacked Iraq because they were responsible for 9/11.

It really undermines EVERYTHING a liberal says if they repeat the Democrat talking points schtik about 9/11 and Iraq. If they believe this then they can be trusted on nothing.

I'm quite willing to listen to liberal points of view, but when they spew this kind of nonsense and exhibit severe BDS it's a warning that they aren't trustworthy.

Some liberals go on and on how conservatives need to be "educated". We are already educated, we just have a different point of view than you do. But I for one am not willing to listen when someone expresses so much hate and outright lies about President Bush and conservatives.

sue, hate to bust your bubb... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

sue, hate to bust your bubble, but that came from Bush's lap dog Tenet, and not from some "democrat's talking-point".

That's quite a piece over t... (Below threshold)
Ofc. Krupke:

That's quite a piece over there at ThinkProgress.

It's a whole 22 posts before someone posits a 9-11 conspiracy. Good show!

Seriously, though, it's pretty funny to hear liberals condemning Bush for not pre-emptively striking Afghanistan in summer 2001. At that time, Bush was still being accused of stealing the election. Are we supposed to believe they all would have dropped their "Commander in Thief" banners and cheered for what would by all appearances be an unprovoked attack on the poorest country on Earth. Please.

Couldn't the people just us... (Below threshold)
canuckistani:

Couldn't the people just use those weapons of mass destruction to protect themselves from the jihadists???

As a side note, I posted a ... (Below threshold)
Ofc. Krupke:

As a side note, I posted a more diplomatically-worded version of my above comment at the original ThinkProgress site, then occasionally tabbed over and hit refresh.

My comment finally appeared on the thread about 20 minutes after its time stamp. Five minutes later, it had magically disappeared.

I got censored at ThinkProgress! Yay me! I'm so proud. :)

"I had a fairly thoughtf... (Below threshold)
Wieder:

"I had a fairly thoughtful response set up for Wieder,"

Bring it on, JT. As it is, I haven't visited Kos or DU or anywhere else for talking points as you obviously do by linking someone else's distorted screed. Thought your aim was to think for yourself rather than reference someone else's.

Whatever you say about Moyers, the ad hominem doesn't change the facts behind "Buying the War."

When most of your readers trash any contrarion source because it flies in the face of their "flat-earth" reality I am not surprised. I had expected that you, with your unlimited ability to stand reason on its head, could muster some form of argument.

While Tenet's book may be frustrating to you true-believers, it's another piece of first-hand history along w/ O'Neill, Clarke and others that all go to show that this Iraqi venture was manufactured and sold to the unthinking.

As for Big Lizard's citing the Senate bipartisan intelligence report carried out to the dicta of Pat Roberts, that is simply luicrous.

I hadn't imagined before that you really aren't too far different from The King in his new clothes.

While Tenet's book may b... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

While Tenet's book may be frustrating to you true-believers, it's another piece of first-hand history along w/ O'Neill, Clarke and others that all go to show that this Iraqi venture was manufactured and sold to the unthinking.

Feh, the Harry Potter book is still kicking it's ass. Expect it to be in the remainder bins within two weeks.

Wieder, I don't NEED to "br... (Below threshold)

Wieder, I don't NEED to "bring it on." It's already been brung. It's called "the original article" -- the one you saw and decided to resort to your own vitriol, ad hominem, and other sound and fury -- signifying nothing. That's why I didn't bother to tak the high road, and instead just answered you in kind, figuring I'd do you the courtesy of answering in language you seemed more comfortable with.

J.

That's quite a piece over t... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

That's quite a piece over there at ThinkProgress.

It's a whole 22 posts before someone posits a 9-11 conspiracy. Good show!

Seriously, though, it's pretty funny to hear liberals condemning Bush for not pre-emptively striking Afghanistan in summer 2001. At that time, Bush was still being accused of stealing the election. Are we supposed to believe they all would have dropped their "Commander in Thief" banners and cheered for what would by all appearances be an unprovoked attack on the poorest country on Earth. Please.

Posted by: Ofc. Krupke at April 29, 2007 08:51 PM I could not have said it better. This is the GW hatred that has been going on since day one of his presidency. Since 2000 the dimmers have tried everything and anything to beat GW down. Unfortunately they are now reduced to selling our troops out just to hurt GW. So sad. ww




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