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Unformatted text preview: U ntil Congressman John Murthas call this fall for a pullout from Iraq, there was little serious public debate in the United States about whether it makes sense to continue a strug- gle that had been launched unwisely. Belatedly, that seems to be changing. The Bush administration responded quickly to the Pennsylvania Democrats challenge with a speech by the president at the US Naval Academy at the end of November, and with the release of a doc- ument entitled A National Strategy for Victory in Iraq. Neither the speech nor the strategy document indicated a significant change of course. Both appeared to suggest that President George W. Bush will continue to dig deeper into the hole he has cre- ated. The arguments trotted out for staying the course are the same ones we have long heard from the White House and the Defense Department. A subtle reading of the administrations response might lead one to see it as the beginning of the enda cover for a failed strategy by progressively redefining victory in Iraq to such a low standard that withdrawal seems acceptable. At this point, however, the former reading, suggesting intent to dig even deeper, seems the more plausible. It never made sense to invade Iraq, and the longer US forces stay there, the greater the damage to Americas interests. The war was and remains in the interest of Al Qaeda and Iran, both longtime enemies of Saddam Hussein. It has detracted from Americas pursuit of Al Qaeda, and it has nearly destroyed the Atlantic alliance. From enjoying incredibly strong worldwide support in the fall of 2001, the United States has sunk to a new low in its standing in the world. D ARKNESS AT THE TUNNELS END Supporters of the current policy offer a long list of justifications, most of which consist of dire pre- dictions about what would transpire if the United States withdraws from Iraq. Yet most of these warningsof civil conflict, lost US credibility, bol- stered terrorists, hampered democracy, inadequate security, regional instability, and the likealready have come true. And others may come to pass no matter how long American forces remain in Iraq. I believe a much stronger case can be made that an early withdrawal will not make the situation all that much worse, and in some regards will improve it. Consider the danger of leaving a civil war in the aftermath of an American withdrawal. The Iraqis, in fact, are already fighting Iraqis. Insurgents have killed far more Iraqis than Americans. This is civil war. The United States created a civil war when it invaded; it cannot prevent a civil war by staying. As for American credibility: What will happen to it if the course the administration is pursuing proves a major strategic disaster? Would it not be better for Americas long-term standing to withdraw earlier than later in this event?...
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course 790 319 taught by Professor Licklider during the Spring '09 term at Rutgers.
- Spring '09