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Strong opinions, weakly held

One Iraq prediction

Foreign Policy prints a piece by military analyst Peter Neumann analyzing the likely outcome of setting a withdrawal date for US military in presence in Iraq. Here’s the crux of his analysis:

If the United States announces a timetable for withdrawal, the only way this grim scenario will not come to pass is if Sunnis and Shiites miraculously learn to trust each other again. That’s becoming more unlikely every day. It’s not as if U.S. policymakers haven’t tried to get both sides to behave responsibly. Time and again, the United States has pleaded with Maliki to confront the sectarian elements within his own government. Time and again, the United States has leaned on Iraq’s Sunni neighbors to convince Iraq’s Sunnis to reject jihadism and throw their lot in with the political process. These efforts are ongoing, but so far, the results have been meager—so meager, in fact, that the U.S. military has begun walling off entire neighborhoods in order to keep Sunnis and Shiites from slaughtering one another.

In their quest to win the policy argument, those who favor heading for the exits in Iraq shouldn’t dismiss as mere political rhetoric the idea that a sectarian blood bath—not reconciliation—is the most likely outcome. Most importantly, though, U.S. political leaders should understand that the game is not over once a withdrawal date is set. On the contrary, getting out of Iraq without unleashing a civil war is likely to be as delicate an operation as getting into the country was in the first place. Let us hope that if the United States does leave, the planning is better this time around.

I’m in favor of withdrawal from Iraq, but I think it’s important not to assume it’s going to make everything better.

4 Comments

  1. Yeah, that is the hardest sell. We’re not pulling out for Iraq. We’re pulling out for us. “We” went in and broke it and now we’re going to leave it that way. There is no good way to put it.

  2. Let us hope that if the United States does leave, the planning is better this time around.

    What, has this guy not been paying attention at all?

    ‘Planning’ to the current administration is so far beyond their understanding that they dismiss it as a waste of time and later think their cognitive dissonance about the actual results is normal.

  3. On the contrary, getting out of Iraq without unleashing a civil war is likely to be as delicate an operation as getting into the country was in the first place.

    This just shows how detached this guy is from reality — there’s already a civil war, that our troops are in the middle of! I don’t think that a single person arguing for withdrawel thinks it will make anything (let alone everything) better — but neither will staying. All we can do is stop making things worse by our show of imperialism, stop getting our troops slaughtered, and apologize for the mess — that last won’t happen, but at least the first two can.

  4. Hey Rafe — not sure if you’ve heard about this yet — some points of view are beyond belief, IMNSHO….

    http://three-cents.blogspot.com/2007/04/suffering-how-dare-you-laura.html

    Keep up the good work, my friend —

    —Eric M. ( from Regency Park days, holla )

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