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  • Bush signals troop withdrawal


    by Sunny
    4th September, 2007 at 9:23 am    

    After another “surprise” visit to Iraq, American Prez GW Bush has signalled a slow troop withdrawal, according to the NYT.

    To be honest, I’m not convinced pulling out of Iraq will be a good thing without any political arrangement of some kind between the Shia, Sunni and Kurd factions. I can see the Al-Qaeda crew trying to wreck havoc as they have been, while Saudi Arabia and Iran vie for influence. All this is already going on of course anyway. But I’m open to view-points and persuasive arguments. What say you?


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    1. Leon — on 4th September, 2007 at 12:18 pm  

      I’m not convinced pulling out of Iraq will be a good thing without any political arrangement of some kind between the Shia, Sunni and Kurd factions.

      Bit of a paradox that, it can be argued no longterm arrangement is possible while the country is subject to such extreme outside interference…

    2. Mike — on 4th September, 2007 at 2:05 pm  

      We should be adding, not subtracting, troops in the surge. It is working well, where fully implemented by a full complement of US troops.

      We should be preparing for a long stay in Iraq, to keep our foot on Al Qaeda’s neck. Korea is the model, where we could now pull out all troops except those guarding our embassy and some well-publicized air and offshore naval assets as deterrents for aggression in the area, knowing that the South Koreans can defend themselves quite well. Anybody but me notice that those war-mongering Bushites have recently managed quite a thoroughly under-reported diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea? I thought they only wanted pre-emptive war? Rhetorical question: why is this not getting the press coverage it would if this were a Democrat or “anybody but Bush” administration?

    3. Ravi Naik — on 4th September, 2007 at 2:58 pm  

      “Anybody but me notice that those war-mongering Bushites have recently managed quite a thoroughly under-reported diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea? I thought they only wanted pre-emptive war? Rhetorical question: why is this not getting the press coverage it would if this were a Democrat or “anybody but Bush” administration?”

      Well, the fact that they don’t invade North Korea is not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t. And why doesn’t Bush promote whatever diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea? Because his administration has called democrats and John Kerry pussies for suggesting diplomacy over war with the axis of evil. So you can be sure that it is the bush administration that wants to keep mum about it, because it can’t really afford to do much else.

      This war is criminal because of gross negligence and incompetence that goes beyond reason and common sense. And these are the people that you still feel - in 2007 - can do anything about terrorism?

    4. Mike — on 4th September, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

      Well, Rav,
      Perhaps the reason they didn’t talk about their diplomatic efforts is because they weren’t doing it for the political publicity they could get, but rather trying to achieve results. I was talking about the press ignoring it, of course. The “war” is not, of course, criminal, but a sound policy to strike against Islamic extremism, keeping it from striking us again and finally achieving great success against Al Q in Iraq, dealing a severe blow to AQ capabilities everywhere.

      And yes, I certainly feel that “these . . . people” are far more capable of “doing anything about terrorism” than the likes of Kennedy, Reid, Pelosi, Gore and the traitor Kerry. Hadn’t noticed any recent attacks on us here, had you? That is not to say I feel the Republicans are “all that.” They certainly took too long to figure out the proper tactics. Just that they are certainly, unquestionably, more capable and trustworthy on national security and defense than the Democrats.

    5. The Common Humanist — on 4th September, 2007 at 3:40 pm  

      “Just that they are certainly, unquestionably, more capable and trustworthy on national security and defense than the Democrats”

      It took a while for me to stop laughing at that one.

      GOPers….trustworthy?????? Where exactly have you been for the past, well lets start with the past seven years….??????????????

      A more incompetant admin would be hard to find. Not only did they ignore the AQ threat till the towers fell, they criminally screwed up their efforts in Iraq to a level that I barely thought possible.

      ‘The Surge’ (Trickle?) is working in patches and not in others - I suggest you read more than Republican News - the bottom line is that an adminstration less ideologically incapable would have realised that this effort was needed in August 2003 and not August 2007. Four years of wasted time and lives. Yeah, nice one Republicans…….

    6. The Common Humanist — on 4th September, 2007 at 3:54 pm  

      MIndyou, without Bush, what would we have?

      Oh yeah, competant US Governance.

      Class Bush moments:

      Bush attacking Clinton during the (outstandingly successful) Balkans Intervention: “Victory means an exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is, and I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.”

      Bush making at least twenty promises ( http://www.issuepedia.org/index.php/Bush%27s_hypocrisy ) to the military men and women he has since betrayed. Check out where he denounces the practice of “using our troops as nation-builders.”

      Like the fact that, in Bill Clinton’s day, we did not have to lower our recruitment standards, forcing the Army to let in ex-felons… or offer $20,000 signing bonuses to bribe new “volunteers.”

      Or the fact that only two (just two!) of our Army’s brigades are currently fully trained, equipped and ready for actual war to defend this country! All the rest have been converted into counter insurgency urban swat teams. (One general said “Bill Clinton’s U.S. Army could beat our present force with one hand tied behind its back.”)

      If Bill Clinton was hiding so much, why did he cut government secrecy in half? If the Bushites are so responsible, why do they run from facts, from testifying, from oversight? Why have they multiplied government secrecy to levels ten times greater than when we were in a life-and-death Cold War struggle against the Soviet KGB?

      In past wars, patriotic wealthy Americans stepped up, accepting the need to help pay for a struggle fought by other peoples’ sons. If we’re now “at war,” how come the top neocon billionaires have just two priorities — increasing their tax cuts and getting no-bid, crony contracts to NOT deliver what’s needed in Iraq?

      I could go on and on and on.

      If you think that the GOP is good for America you really must have put all the kids uni funds into Blackwater and Boeing and be praying for more war.

      You twonk.

    7. Ravi Naik — on 4th September, 2007 at 3:59 pm  

      “Perhaps the reason they didn’t talk about their diplomatic efforts is because they weren’t doing it for the political publicity they could get”

      Oh, yes… it is not like they would make “mission accomplished” publicity stunts. :)

      “And yes, I certainly feel that “these . . . people” are far more capable”

      yes, you and 20 something percent of americans who still believe in Bush. It is 2007 now, and everyone is looking past the Bush administration, and figuring out how to get out of this mess that your kind have unleashed. And it will be a democrat, once more, to figure that out.

      “Hadn’t noticed any recent attacks on us here, had you?”

      Now that you mention, yes I have. London was bombed, or did you forget? Terrorism is one the rise and so is Al Qaeda’s membership. This is based on several official reports. The fact that you and your administration keep saying otherwise despite the evidence, shows that you either don’t comprehend terrorism or are in complete denial.

    8. Mike — on 4th September, 2007 at 5:50 pm  

      Wow. I certainly unleashed the moonbat parade! Let’s just assume all the things they said are true. As I said before for those of you who can read, I still would take the GOP over the Democrat Party on national security and defense, in a heartbeat. Not saying they are perfect, or even all that good, but still, compared to the Democrats . . . and I’m still laughing over the “competant (sic) US Governance” moonbatism.

    9. Vasey — on 4th September, 2007 at 5:50 pm  

      Diplomatic success in North Korea? Eh, not really. Come on, do you really think that North Korea will adhere to a treaty’s terms? They’ll merrily go back to what they were doing the minute the world turns its attention elsewhere, if they wait that long. They’ve done it before and they’ll do it again.

    10. Ravi Naik — on 4th September, 2007 at 6:04 pm  

      “As I said before for those of you who can read, I still would take the GOP over the Democrat Party on national security and defense, in a heartbeat”

      So would 25% of americans.

      And that is why democrats will win in 2008.

      And the term “moonbat” to address people who see reality, well, it is very 2004. Now move along.

    11. sid — on 4th September, 2007 at 6:26 pm  

      Bush signalling that he wants to move out of Iraq now is simply capitulation. Now that the country is inavaded and occupied, sort the shit out or pass over to International agencies who restore the peace and help re-build the devastated institutions. Isn’t that what the pro-war people have said all along. No doubt they will now slavishly mouth Bush’s now-imminent policy of “Pull Out”.

    12. sid — on 4th September, 2007 at 6:35 pm  

      And Ravi, heh, you’re so right.

    13. ad — on 4th September, 2007 at 6:42 pm  

      Abandonment might be a better word than capitulation.

    14. El Cid — on 4th September, 2007 at 6:52 pm  

      Not only are the Americans pulling out but Sid was right all along! Let the bells ring out!!
      What a momentous day!

      On a more serious note, did anyone see this?
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2162037,00.html

    15. sid — on 4th September, 2007 at 6:57 pm  

      Only the most mentally lethargic would like to score personal or partisan points on this now, El Cid. I wish the scrotum heads in the Whitehouse thought as much.

    16. Rumbold — on 4th September, 2007 at 7:17 pm  

      Sid:

      “Bush signalling that he wants to move out of Iraq now is simply capitulation. Now that the country is inavaded and occupied, sort the shit out or pass over to International agencies who restore the peace and help re-build the devastated institutions. Isn’t that what the pro-war people have said all along.”

      So you want the troops to stay Sid?

    17. sid — on 4th September, 2007 at 7:30 pm  

      I was against the invasion Rumbold because of the inevitable breakup of Iraq into 3 mutually offensive client states of USA. But now that has happened, the only people with the resources to fix this would be the USA.

      Only a few months, Washington and the ProWar people mouthed the same sentiments. Hence the Surge. Remember?

      Are you now, as a ProWar supporter, saying the reverse should be true. And can I ask what you attribute this turnaround to?

    18. sid — on 4th September, 2007 at 7:33 pm  

      “If you break it you pay for it” is a common enough maxim used by retailers. Americans should have no difficulty understanding foreign policy if couched in retail ethics.

    19. Rumbold — on 4th September, 2007 at 7:36 pm  

      Sid:

      I am like Sunny, I am not sure. I agree that we have a duty of care to the Iraqis, but am not sure the best way that it can be achieved. I do not like the idea of a timetable, because that will lead to chaos, and am not sure whether or not the Iraqi army is strong enough yet. Perhaps an Iraqi referendum on foreign forces would give a clearer picture of the situation.

    20. sid — on 4th September, 2007 at 7:39 pm  

      Perhaps an Iraqi referendum on foreign forces would give a clearer picture of the situation.

      The democratically elected Iraqi govt has been personally maligned and discredited by Washington simply because they have been uppity enough to demand fuller autonomy from the Americans. Are you saying that the Americans would now hand over power on the strngth of a referendum?

    21. Rumbold — on 4th September, 2007 at 7:43 pm  

      Sid:

      “The democratically elected Iraqi govt has been personally maligned and discredited by Washington simply because they have been uppity enough to demand fuller autonomy from the Americans.”

      I think that the infiltration of Shia death squads into the Health and other ministries might have also annoyed the Americans.

      “Are you saying that the Americans would now hand over power on the strngth of a referendum?”

      What I am saying is that if we lose the consent of the Iraqi people it is going to be even more difficult, but if a significant number still want us there then we should stay, otherwise we are abandoning them to the murderers.

    22. sid — on 4th September, 2007 at 7:48 pm  

      Well, the US are playing the blame game for all its worth, thats for sure. Infiltration of Shia death squads in Basra is blamed on who? Ah yes, the British forces. Ever get the feeling that the planning on Iraq has been about as solid as an edifice built on sand?

      What I am saying is that if we lose the consent of the Iraqi people it is going to be even more difficult, but if a significant number still want us there then we should stay, otherwise we are abandoning them to the murderers.

      Where are those polls that showed the large majority of Iraqis wanted the US to stay? Gone. So are the chances that the Iraqis will in any way be consulted on the movements of the US army,

    23. Rumbold — on 4th September, 2007 at 7:52 pm  

      Sid:

      “Ever get the feeling that the planning on Iraq has been about as solid as an edifice built on sand?”

      I agree 100%. It has been an absolute disgrace- I and many other pro-war persons have long being saying this. The question is, what are we going to do now?

      “Where are those polls that showed the large majority of Iraqis wanted the US to stay? Gone.”

      We need to find out what they think now.

      What is your plan Sid?

    24. sid — on 4th September, 2007 at 7:57 pm  

      Politics not guns. The Kurdish state is a reality now, so that should be set up. The south should try and be kept together, with Shii and Sunni forming some kind of federal state system. This will require long term institution and capacity building, and the only people who do that for a living is the UN. Oh and the US should pay back the money they stole under Paul Bremer and kick out the corporate tomb raiders like Bechtel etc.

    25. sid — on 4th September, 2007 at 8:00 pm  

      We need to find out what they think now.

      I don’t think they have the luxury of shifting their political goalposts as often as you and the Nick Cohen bombadiers.

    26. soru — on 4th September, 2007 at 9:26 pm  

      “If you break it you pay for it” is a common enough maxim used by retailers. Americans should have no difficulty understanding foreign policy if couched in retail ethics.

      I think this is about as precisely a wrong way of looking at things as possible.

      It assumes:

      1. the the USA did a bad thing by removing saddam.

      2. an appropriate punishment for that bad thing is to occupy Iraq: occupying iraq will somehow fix it.

      Both points are obviously bollocks - the problem with the Iraq war is not that the military part was particularly bad. Cities weren’t fire bombed from the air, men weren’t rounded up and killed, most of the bad things that can happen in war didn’t really come up to any great extent.

      The actual problem was that, having won the war quickly and cheaply, Bush turned out to be worse at running Iraq than even saddam.

      So, while optimism about Iraq doesn’t exactly have a good track record, once Bush goes away, there is no particularly strong reason preventing things from gradually normalising, like Lebanon after the civil war.

    27. sid — on 4th September, 2007 at 11:01 pm  

      an appropriate punishment for that bad thing is to occupy Iraq: occupying iraq will somehow fix it.

      This is totally amazing but wholly inevitable: that the task of de-occupation and de-invasion of Iraq should be the argument for withdrawal for those who supported the occupation and invasion in the first place! You want to have your cake and eat it too, I suppose.

    28. soru — on 4th September, 2007 at 11:05 pm  

      can you unpack that a bit so I can disagree with it properly?

    29. sid — on 4th September, 2007 at 11:14 pm  

      the the USA did a bad thing by removing saddam.

      This is an argument that, like the ‘moonbat’ insult, is soooo 2004. We’re far beyond the good vs bad arguments of invasion now. The USA should remain in Iraq because they “broke” it in proper old-school colonialist fashion. And if the tacit Pro-war reasons for invasaion were humanitarian, ie, leaving the Iraqis to live under repressive totalirarianism, then what is so humanitarian about abandoning them to a replaced repressive totalitarianism?

    30. Rumbold — on 5th September, 2007 at 12:05 am  

      Sid:

      “I don’t think they have the luxury of shifting their political goalposts as often as you and the Nick Cohen bombadiers.”

      So I change my opinion based on changing circumstances? So what?

      “The Kurdish state is a reality now, so that should be set up. The south should try and be kept together, with Shii and Sunni forming some kind of federal state system. This will require long term institution and capacity building, and the only people who do that for a living is the UN.”

      A ‘Kurdish’ state could well cause a Turkish invasion. There are plenty of none-Kurds in this area, so they would likely be persecuted. This area also has a lot of the oil, so the rest of Iraq would be reluctant to give it up.

      The coalition forces in Iraq are already operating under a UN Mandate.

      Why would the Sunnis and Shias in the South suddenly start to get on?

    31. soru — on 5th September, 2007 at 12:06 am  

      We’re far beyond the good vs bad arguments of invasion now. The USA should remain in Iraq because they “broke” it in proper old-school colonialist fashion.

      That seems to be a bit circular: the only argument you can mount for the USA staying is _because_ the invasion was bad.

      And the only argument you can mount for the invasion being bad (unless you want to go praising saddam) is _because_ the current situation, under occupation, is undeniably bad.

      then what is so humanitarian about abandoning them to a replaced repressive totalitarianism

      If the withdrawl is well-managed and not precipitate, there is no particular reason to believe the result will be some unusually repressive totalitarianism. Clearly, it’s not going to be the shining vision of liberal democratic capitalism that was briefly talked about: most likely it will be just a run of the mill third world country, another Egypt or Iran.

      Maybe the Iraqi politicians will even surprise the cynical and run their country better than that.

      Admittedly, it’s pretty likely Bush will find a way to screw things up further, whatever strategy he follows. Pity he can’t be dropped out of a helicopter by the CIA or something.

    32. sid — on 5th September, 2007 at 12:22 am  

      That seems to be a bit circular: the only argument you can mount for the USA staying is _because_ the invasion was bad.

      I see you’ve got “willfully obtuse” down to a fine art. Again, “good” and “bad” reductions of the invasion shoudl be reserved for idiots like the people behind the “Drink Soaked Popinjays For WAR” blog. No one is bringing up this “good/bad” binary on this thread except you. The USA should stay in Iraq because the chaos in which the country has been enveloped is containbale by the Iraqis, unless you want to see it spill over to neighbouring countries. Is that clear enough or do you want a PowerPoint presentation. If so, see here.

      Funny how it’s all Bush’s fault now. And this from a pro war person. Hello 180 degrees!

    33. sid — on 5th September, 2007 at 12:25 am  

      ahem…

      The USA should stay in Iraq because the chaos in which the country has been enveloped is NOT containable by the Iraqis alone, unless you want to see it spill over to neighbouring countries.

    34. Rumbold — on 5th September, 2007 at 12:27 am  

      At the end of the day, the question is whether foreign troops make the situation worse or better? I still think better, but understand those who say worse.

    35. soru — on 5th September, 2007 at 1:14 am  

      see here.?

      I watched that for a while, and it was 100% about US politics, who will win the next election and so on. No doubt important in it’s own right, but not a particularly useful lens to look at Iraq through.

      The USA should stay in Iraq because the chaos in which the country has been enveloped is NOT containable by the Iraqis alone

      So you support having the US stay there and increase the chaos until it reaches the point where it can’t be contained any more, becomes a new vietnam or algeria?

      It’s not that there isn’t a problem, it’s just that that problem isn’t going to be adressed by doing the wrong thing.

      At the end of the day, the question is whether foreign troops make the situation worse or better?

      Unless you support indefinite occupation, a true new and formal US empire, the correct question to be asking is: what is the best way to withdraw? What can be expected to lead to the fewest deaths, and the least bad lives for those remaining?

      Put like that, it is a technical question, a matter for experts in the field, generals and war college professors. The experts I choose to listen to come from the institution with a hundred years experience of withdrawing in just about every conceivable way from a fair fraction of the countries on the planet: the British army.

      Ideally, the actual political decision as to what to do comes as a follow-on to that, something based on that input.

      The alternative is to pick the set of facts that would, if true, make you look good.

      I think there has been enough of that already.

    36. sid — on 5th September, 2007 at 2:03 am  

      Why would the Sunnis and Shias in the South suddenly start to get on?

      Because they will form loosely coupled semi-autonomous federal satellite states of a larger state called Iraq, as they did prior to King Feisal.

      what is the best way to withdraw? What can be expected to lead to the fewest deaths, and the least bad lives for those remaining?

      We agree, at least, on the high-level aspect. Withdrawal from Iraq in the mess it is in now is capitulation. You’re free to redefine that term in any way you like, for the benefit of your own self regard. A sensible withdrawal would involve rebuilding at least the judiciary and the armed forces to a sustaninable level. That would take a good few more years. Otherwise, you’ve not just lost a war, you’ve created a few more for the future.

      I never believed the “Onwards Christian Soldiers” bollocks that war in Iraq was for altruistic reasons, for US suburban comfort maybe, for Iraqi freedom, no. But I do hope that it can be reshaped. As you say, I also hope that a new US Pres will be able to deal with Iraq by using tools for the job, not a blunt object like the US Army.

    37. sid — on 5th September, 2007 at 2:07 am  

      So I change my opinion based on changing circumstances? So what?

      Well exactly. If you build your edifices on sand, careful how you arrange the furniture.

    38. sid — on 5th September, 2007 at 2:22 am  

      A ‘Kurdish’ state could well cause a Turkish invasion. There are plenty of none-Kurds in this area, so they would likely be persecuted. This area also has a lot of the oil, so the rest of Iraq would be reluctant to give it up.

      More having and eating of cake. So if you’re advocating the withdrawal, (or rather skedaddle, high tail, get the fuck out of Dodge stylee) then how do you propose Iraq is going to remain one contiguous state? It’ll decompose into 3 as soon as the US leave before you can say “la hawla wa la quwatta illah billah”.

    39. Sunny — on 5th September, 2007 at 3:16 am  

      I’m with Sid on that there should be a Kurdish state, and with some security to ensure Turkey does not invade it.

      So you support having the US stay there and increase the chaos until it reaches the point where it can’t be contained any more, becomes a new vietnam or algeria?

      I don’t think the US will leave anytime soon. The danger of the area descending into complete madness and then spilling out into neighbouring territories is too high. If that happens then the US would have to come back in, spending a ton more cash, and have to clean up the mess (that it let fester).

      At the minimum, it needs to bring in Iran and Saudi to stabilise the area I reckon. No other way. It’s own troops don’t have capability.

    40. Sofia — on 5th September, 2007 at 11:00 am  

      Sunny do you really think Iran and Saudi would come together to stabilise the area? I thought that job had originally been left to Iraq in order to keep check on the shias..

    41. Rumbold — on 5th September, 2007 at 12:07 pm  

      Sid:

      “More having and eating of cake. So if you’re advocating the withdrawal, (or rather skedaddle, high tail, get the fuck out of Dodge stylee) then how do you propose Iraq is going to remain one contiguous state? It’ll decompose into 3 as soon as the US leave before you can say “la hawla wa la quwatta illah billah”.”

      Why do you assume that if the US was not there Iraq would split nicely into three? Throughout the country, especially in Baghdad, there are Sunnis and Shias intertwinned.

      I never said that I advocated withdrawl. What I said was that I am not sure whether withdrawl is the best option or not.

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