I think that the planned withdrawal of American troops by late 2011 is a good idea.
Looks like I've changed my mind, but I haven't.
Withdrawing American (and coalition) forces from Iraq ASAP would most likely have resulted in a replay of the Fall of Saigon. Establishing an unconditional timetable for withdrawal would have given Al Qaeda and other anti-Iraqi forces valuable knowledge. All they would have had to do was endure until the coalition was gone. Then they would have been free to blow up or behead Iraqis as they saw fit. Shortly after that, we'd most likely have been looking at an Iraq run by Al Qaeda.
I don't think that would have been a good idea. I still don't.
The agreement that's being worked out now, if approved, has American troops withdrawing from Iraq: provided that
- Certain conditions are met
- The Iraqi government wants them out, when the time comes
I think, considering Iraq's strategic position, that American troops will be "occupying" Iraq fifty and a hundred years from now, in the same way as America is "occupying" Germany today: by maintaining American military bases in an independent country's territory, with the consent and cooperation of that country's government.
But, it looks like Iraq is now an independent, sovereign, nation, making its own arrangements with foreign powers.
Good news for all of us.
- "United States in Iraq, a United Nations Mandate, and What Iraq's Leaders Want " (June 11, 2008)
- "American Television Networks and the News: Impartial, Neutral, Nonpartisan, Dispassionate" (April 29, 2008)
- "An Endless War in Iraq: Reality Check" (April 2, 2008)
- "Meanwhile, in Washington: No Money for the Troops " (November 16, 2007)
- "Deal would have U.S. troops out of Iraq by 2012"
CNN (August 22, 2008)
- "BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. and Iraqi negotiators have reached agreement on a proposal calling for a complete U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq by 2012, the head Iraqi negotiator said Friday.
- "The deal still must be approved by both sides, said Mohammed al-Haj Hamoud, deputy foreign minister and head of the Iraqi negotiating team.
- "Hamoud said Thursday's meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was helpful in reaching the tentative agreement
- "U.S. troops to leave Iraq by 2011"
International Herald Tribune (August 22, 2008)
- "BAGHDAD: The United States has agreed to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by next June and from the rest of the country by the end of 2011 if conditions in Iraq remain relatively stable, according to Iraqi and U.S. officials involved in negotiating a security accord governing American forces here.
- "The withdrawal timetable, which Bush administration officials called 'aspirational goals' rather than fixed dates, are contained in the draft of an agreement that still must be approved by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and other Iraqi leaders before it goes before Iraq's fractious Parliament. It has the support of the Bush administration, American and Iraqi officials said.
- "American officials stressed repeatedly that meeting the timetables depended on the security situation in Iraq, where sectarian killings and attacks on American troops have declined sharply over the past year from the peak levels of 2006 and 2007. Iraqi officials, who have pushed for an even tighter target date for the United States to end its military operations, could also end up rejecting the draft agreement...."