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Iraqi elections and family road trips

As the Iraqi elections wound down, I took a quick survey of some of the left end of the blogosphere. And I noticed one recurring theme. In a nutshell (a singularly appropriate phrase here), it can be summed up thusly: can we bring the troops home now?

I've always believed that our troops will return from Iraq when three conditions are met: 1) Iraq has a stable, democratically-elected government; 2) Iraq has a security force capable of controlling the terrorists that seem hell-bent on causing as much carnage and may hem as they can; and 3) that Iraqi government asks us to leave.

Throughout our history, we have a habit of invading a country, liberating it, and sticking around, with the assent of that nation. We still have forces in places left over from the Spanish-American War, World War II, the Korean War, the first Gulf War, and the Balkans Adventure.

And those troops are, largely, welcomed by the host nations. In fact, the one time we've been asked to leave, we did so graciously -- and the Philippines has quietly discussed our return on several occasions. On the other hand, our presence in Japan, Germany, and Korea is welcomed, to various degrees, by the governments.

We have a decided strategic interest in staying in Iraq, and we should attempt to persuade the new Iraqi government to allow us to stay. It would be in both our interests for the United States to keep a military presence in Iraq for the foreseeable future.

But if they ask us to leave, once those other two conditions are met, then we should. Period. And I think we will.

In the meantime, though, we still have those annoying voices on the Left, endlessly repeating their mantra about "bringing the troops home," like annoying kids in the back seat with their endless queries of "are we there yet? Are we there yet? How much longer?"

And like those kids, as tempting as it is to turn around and smack them, we can't. But we can, at least, yell back at them.

Comments (10)

We've been in Germany since... (Below threshold)

We've been in Germany since the end of WWII and have about 70,000 troops still there. Remember when Rumsfeld announced last year about plans to start withdrawing from Germany? Did the Germans greet this cheers of joy? No.

A U.S. withdrawal from Germany has a significant impact on Germany's already poor economy. There are 70,000 troops but also 80,000 U.S. dependents in Germany. All of those people bring U.S. dollars into the German economy.

The U.S. also pays billions of dollars to lease all of the bases we have there. If we close down several of the bases completely and terminate the leases on those bases then that is another economic hit.

Finally, Germany has been reducing it's own military because they had good old Uncle Sam right there to protect them. By downsizing our troops even more in Germany, that makes them even more vulnerable. Germany then has to decide whether they need to incrase their own military, which costs money.

The one thing about those p... (Below threshold)
just me:

The one thing about those places is that it is often a love hate relationship-the government wants us there, but sometimes the citizens don't-at least until we start making noises about reducing the troops strength in the area.

I think Germany is one country we should pull completely out of, and move our European presence to one of the Eastern European countries that seems to have a clearer understanding of oppression and why it should be defeated everywhere.

At least with Germany I think it is about time we pulled the car over.

There's nothing wrong with ... (Below threshold)

There's nothing wrong with continuing to ask 'when?' and 'are we there yet, are we getting closer?'. Those are questions I (no leftist, to be sure) would very much like to know the answer to... as I am sure would a whole lot of other right-leaning folks. And wanting to know the answers to those questions does not mean the inquirer wants our troops out before the job is done...

As for your take on when the job is done, I would take issue with a couple of your points. First, once the Iraqis have a government in place, we ought to leave when they ask us, regardless of whether your 2nd condition has been met and regardless of our strategic interests in sticking around in the area.

And, because I believe the reason for invading Iraq was to improve our security, not to make a better life for the Iraqis, I believe our troops ought to come home when the terrorists/insurgents in Iraq no longer pose a threat to us. I don't care what they do to each other, at least not enough to have American troops sacrifice their lives.

Jay Tea, I don't suppose we... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea, I don't suppose we could pull the car over and beat the crap out of them?

Just a thought.

Jay Tea, I don't suppose we... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea, I don't suppose we could pull the car over and beat the crap out of them?

Like your alcoholic pappy used to beat your crack whore mother?

Yup, this is definitely a c... (Below threshold)

Yup, this is definitely a change in meme from the left. For the last year it was "Bush misled us into war", and when finally the administration called them on it, they slunk away. This meme was quickly replaced by "the war is unwinnable/let's withdraw now" and when that went over like a bomb, suddenly the meme became "Bush is in a bubble." This lasted about 3 or 4 days and now this is the new one. Maybe they've focus-group tested it with a bunch of moveon.org types, who knows. We'll see if it picks up any traction.

Steve Sturm's comment, "...... (Below threshold)

Steve Sturm's comment, "...because I believe the reason for invading Iraq was to improve our security, not to make a better life for the Iraqis." is one view, but it's not the right one.

Part of the Bush campaign was explicit: to improve our security, it is necessary to make a better life for Iraqis--and others.

The intent was clearly to push over the regional status quo house of cards and force a change to a respresentative, democratic government. Letting a succession of dictators, despots, failing authoritarian governments continue was not and is not in the national security interests of the US. This was intentional and made clear from the start, but apparently some didn't hear it.

Tho acting like kids they a... (Below threshold)

Tho acting like kids they are really kooks.

John answered steve but I'm... (Below threshold)

John answered steve but I'm going to repeat it anyhow, because it's important.

It matters to our security what they do to each other. Sure, it's altruistic to want to improve their lives but it is also 100% pure cynical self-interest to want a free and prosperous Iraq.

Firstly, young men with the prospect of a job, a pretty wife and a mortgage, do not blow stuff up. Secondly, a model for civil liberty in an Islamic state will pressure neighbor countries to reform. We see that happening to some extent already.

Wow! Iraqi elections - just... (Below threshold)
The Raven:

Wow! Iraqi elections - just what I wanted for Christmas!

Honestly, who gives a shit? You spend $300 billion you can set up a bogus election and pretend that you've built a "democracy." Fact is, we haven't built squat over there.

Soon as we pull out, they're gonna install some Khomeni-esque imam and put the country under Sha'aria law. Then they'll either align with Iran or start fighting their neighbor again. Mission Accomplished.

Thing is, that's gonna happen whether we spend another $300 billion over there or not. No, there will be no "shining perfect example of a pro-American democracy in Iraq stabililizing the Middle East and spreading our way of life throughout the region." You believe that, you're a pathetic simpleton nutjob.

Every dollar, every life we've spent there has been a terrible, stupid, needless waste. Afghanistan? Yes - worth doing, and worth doing right. That meant getting Osama (and where did his name come up in Bush's assinine speech last night? Oh... that's right, it didn't).

Quit shilling for these bastards, willya? They're killing our soldiers, bankrupting us, and doing everything the Founding Fathers warned us against doing.






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