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Thread: Pulling Out Of Iraq - What Would Happen?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Pulling Out Of Iraq - What Would Happen?

    This thread is NOT meant to start another post war, with endless debating on WHY we should or shouldn't pull out of Iraq. It is meant to offer a place to post observations on what would happen in Iraq if the American forces did pull out, for the purpose of this thread question, in a relatively short period of time.

    Those who believe our presence is necessary and we should stay may argue that the effects of our withdrawal are reason enough to stay. OK, that said, what would happen if we left?
    _____

    My Opinion

    I struggled with posting this thread. I have been a supporter of our efforts because Sadam Hussien was a real bad guy and I was glad to see him go. But as the war has dragged on and it becomes very apparent that even regular folks in Iraq no longer want us in their country I have wavered. Here's my view on a quick pullout:

    Continued violence, only this time it is countryman versus countryman. Those who loudly and publicly supported the American role in Iraq would continue to be singled-out. The exodus of those people would most likely rival the exodus of the South Vietnamese as the Viet Cong (and North Viet Nam) moved toward Saigon.

    Iran would be the joker in the deck, stirring up trouble to push the Iraqi government in their religious and fundamentalist direction.

    Without American protection there would probably be some destroyed oil producing and transporting facilities, most likely adding a few cents to our stateside petrol prices. American contractors would probably leave but there would be a line of middle-eastern and European contractors ready to continue the infrastructure rebuild of Iraq.

    As for democracy and the election process......only time would tell.

    What say you?

    Bear
    Last edited by Bear Up North; 29 May 2006 at 9:07 PM.
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  2. #2
    Something like what happened to Yugoslavia.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I believe it was the Romans who had harsh penalties for any man who fled a battle. The reason is because when you turn your back on the enemy and try to leave, you are much more likely to get cut down than if you stand and fight. I think this is a truism in all kinds of hostile situations, whether in an argument between two people or a war between two nations. Trying to leave when things are still messy is always very risky and dangerous. Although I don't particularly follow events over there, my guess is that if/when America pulls out, it will leave a power vacuum of the type readily filled by the worst sorts of "political factions" (for lack of a better term). I seriously doubt that we have succeeded in putting into place political structures which might offer support to a fledging country bereft of it's own leadership now that Sadam has been removed.

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    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    I have been and continue to be opposed to the invasion.

    That being said, I think we had a window when we could have done something very good for Iraq and "won" the war. We did not do the good we could have done. We allowed civilian military theorists to test theories about small force levels that proved to be false. We gave reconstruction duties to private sector cronies of the President and Vice President, and they siphoned off huge sums of money but did not reconstruct.

    There is a way to "win" in Iraq . It is the same as it was three years ago, but not as easy as it would have been then. First, send in enough troops. Second, use reconstruction funds to reconstruct. This will cost much more than we have spend in Iraq to date. I don't think we have the leadership or the popular support for that option. The only other path is to pull out.

    Sometimes, it's easier to stay out than to get out.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    I keep going back to Colin Powell's pottery barn analogy. We broke the county, its our responsibility to fix it. Like it or not, Iraq will be blackhole for both money and people for years to come. We are stuck. Do we need a coherent plan and policies, yes. But that will take a regime change in this county, with elected officials who do not have extensive ties to those who are profiteering from the war.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

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    Our leaving - and we will - will allow the Kurds to splt, creating what might eventually be a workable state that could have positive relations with the US (while messing up our relationship with Turkey) if we played it right. The rest of the country will descend into chaos from which one presumes a fundamentalist Islamic state hostile to our us and our interests will emerge. As with Vietnam, we find ourselves in a position in which there are no good choices. We will have to fly out as many of our "friends" as possible and leave in ignominy. Worse yet, given the religious dimensions of this conflict, we will not - 20 years later - find ourselves buying backpacks from and trekking in the land of our former "enemies."

    While I take no satisfaction in it, I said (in this forum as well as other places) that this was entirely and completely predictable. There never was any other possible outcome. History makes it clear that if you are going to be a successful imperialist you have two choices: 1) buy off a local elite that has an iron grip on the populace (ie cut a deal with Saddam instead of deposing him), or 2) kill them all. The third choice, supporting a local uprising against a dictator, was never a possibility in this situaiton, even though there were a few feeble efforts to paint it as such. IMO, the people who sent us there should be tried as criminals - for the misfeasance of public funds if for nothing else.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Wow... I was thinking about posting something along the same lines this morning.

    I think that something different needs to happen. While I don’t think that we should just up and leave at this moment in time, I do think that we need to let the newly forming Iraqi government that unless they get their act together and be able to defend them selves.

    Afghanistan... after the violence this weekend, let them know that they have one of two options, turn over the Taliban or we will nuke your a$$!
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Well Iraq is in shreads now, without the US occupying it, the fundie islamists won't have much to whine about, but the internal problems will arise within the different factions. So yes, there will be a civil war, it's unavoidable and it should be left for them to resolve it their way. The Western world must realize that intervention in internal affairs and conflicts within a civilization only makes the world a more dangerous place for all of us.

    So in short, the US should leave and never go back to Iraq or any country in the Islamist Civilization.

  9. #9
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner
    I keep going back to Colin Powell's pottery barn analogy. We broke the county, its our responsibility to fix it. Like it or not, Iraq will be blackhole for both money and people for years to come. We are stuck. Do we need a coherent plan and policies, yes. But that will take a regime change in this county, with elected officials who do not have extensive ties to those who are profiteering from the war.
    Similar thought here. I think I saw somewhere that the Iraqi government has stated their troops will be combat ready around March 2007, so I'd want us 100% withdrawn by then (even though I didn't support the war in the first place). If we are not out by then, the Presidency and Congress is the democrats to lose in 2008, though I certainly don't underestimate their ability to blow this opportunity.

    Interesting point about the Kurds, Lee. I hadn't really thought about that, particularly in the context of our relationship with Turkey.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    If we pull out, there will be widespread violence, fighting between warring factions, a lot of innocent people will be caught in the crossfire and the people will not have access to reliable basic services. In other words, pretty much what we have if we stay.

    We made this mess. We have to clean it up. However Iraq is the proverbial tar baby. We can't remain involved without it getting worse and worse. Iraq is not another Vietnam. It may be worse.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    Something like what happened to Yugoslavia.
    Yes, but writ large.

    I think a pullout on our part will mean an even more dangerous situation in Iraq than we now have. Once we're gone, Iran, Syria, Turkey and maybe Saudi Arabia might all be persuaded to choose sides in Iraq, and events would be worse than at any time since World War II.

    I think we have no option but to stay now. I think we publicly state that we'll be neutral in the civil war (yes, there's a civil war already), and that we will work with whatever emerges as the legitimate government of Iraq. We keep our troops there to build whatever trust we can with the people, and rebuild what we broke.

    Without trying to start a flame war, I tend to agree with Lee Nellis -- I saw this situation coming since before the war, and that's why I didn't support it. But withdrawal is just an invitation to others in the Middle East to make things even worse, and they can get worse.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    In my opinion ---- "Pulling Out" is always the safest policy.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop
    We made this mess. We have to clean it up. However Iraq is the proverbial tar baby. We can't remain involved without it getting worse and worse. Iraq is not another Vietnam. It may be worse.
    I almost used the "tar baby" quote myself in my earlier post. Leaving our troops there is the "least bad" option.

    Before the war started, I had a post here that equated our involvement in Iraq with our fighting the Phillipine Insurrection from 1900-1905. It's a little remembered war that was an aftereffect of the Spanish-American War in 1898 (Remember the Maine and all that). We beat Spain and took over its territories, including the Phillipines, who really wanted independence. President McKinley saw the Phillipines as an imperial acquisition that gave the U.S. a role in Asia. Well, 5,000 dead and 30,000 injured soldiers later, we found ourselves working with a new Phillipine government, and we kept more than 50,000 soldiers there until the 1940s. Many historians view the Spanish-American War and Phillipine Insurrection as America's first major step as a world power, but the price was much higher than most bargained for.

    I expect a similar level of casualties and lengthy military commitment in Iraq.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Budgie
    In my opinion ---- "Pulling Out" is always the safest policy.
    Somone had to say it.

    I was going to say that although pulling out is a good policy, I find that going in with adequate shielding for your soldiers and equipment prevents future unintended circumstances.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    It'll be much worse than Vietnam because in Vietnam there was a stable and organized government willing to take power, who also had the military means to maintain order (North Vietnam).

    In Iraq there will be chaos and civil war, possibly on the scale of the Spanish civil war. I expect large amounts of ethnic cleansing as the various ethnic groups duke it out for power. The Kurds are all but doomed.

    Saddam may have been a bad guy (no arguing there) but at least his secular government maintained order in a country that would otherwise be always on the verge of religious civil war.

    If Iran were to invade and take power it would be a blessing.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
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    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop
    If we pull out, there will be widespread violence, fighting between warring factions, a lot of innocent people will be caught in the crossfire and the people will not have access to reliable basic services. In other words, pretty much what we have if we stay.

    We made this mess. We have to clean it up. However Iraq is the proverbial tar baby. We can't remain involved without it getting worse and worse. Iraq is not another Vietnam. It may be worse.
    I agree. History shows time and time again what happens when you throw radically different, warring people with little in common together into 1 country. The only way it works is to have a colonial power or a strong man that keeps the country together by sheer force. When the controlling power leaves, chaos and bloodshed results. We saw that in Africa when the colonial powers left and we saw it with Tito in Yugoslavia. .
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner
    I agree. History shows time and time again what happens when you throw radically different, warring people with little in common together into 1 country. The only way it works is to have a colonial power or a strong man that keeps the country together by sheer force. When the controlling power leaves, chaos and bloodshed results. We saw that in Africa when the colonial powers left and we saw it with Tito in Yugoslavia. .
    And the worst thing you can do is getting your hands dirty with others blood and minding of others business... Iraq is part of the islamic civilization, the US and most of the occupying forces are Westerners... and thus should not be and shouldn't have been in Iraq. Letting them solve their problems by their own is the best solution in the long run... sure it won't be pretty, and there will be great loss of live, many innocent people will die. USA is not the World's Dad or International Police Officer, the US is only the most important nation of the decaying Western Civilization... And by going into endless and pointless wars with other civilizations you're only making the decay faster.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner
    I keep going back to Colin Powell's pottery barn analogy. We broke the county, its our responsibility to fix it.
    How is it possible for you to hold two contradictory ideas in mind at the same time, that the U.S. broke Iraq and that it can fix it? How is it going to fix it? With what?

    Some of you are stuck in a collectivist mindset. This isn't your fault and it doesn't concern you, there's no need to take it as a personal burden.

  19. #19

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    I forget whop said it, jaws, but there is a famous quote that the ability to embrace both sides of a paradox is the true measure of intelligence. But there's no paradox here. Just the American knee jerk reaction that we can fix anything. And while I always have to think for a minute before agreeing with jaws, he is absolutely right. We can't fix this and staying there out of remorse won't help.

    It is really good to have SkeLeton remind us of how the rest of the world sees it.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    How is it possible for you to hold two contradictory ideas in mind at the same time, that the U.S. broke Iraq and that it can fix it? How is it going to fix it? With what?
    The idea is that we caused the problems in Iraq through the invasion. In as much as we can, we need to help repair them. We have certain reponsibilty for destroying the infrastructure and allowing violence and chaos to erupt and continue after Sadam's iron-fisted control was broken. Do I think we can fix the problems, no. However, there is the potential for even greater problems if we leave the country in the condition it currently in. The situation reminds me of Chinese finger traps that we popular when I was kid. You put your fingers in opposite sides of the woven tube and tried to get them out. The more you tried to pull them out, the more the tube constricted.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

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    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    I forget whop said it, jaws, but there is a famous quote that the ability to embrace both sides of a paradox is the true measure of intelligence. But there's no paradox here. Just the American knee jerk reaction that we can fix anything. And while I always have to think for a minute before agreeing with jaws, he is absolutely right. We can't fix this and staying there out of remorse won't help.

    It is really good to have SkeLeton remind us of how the rest of the world sees it.
    I too appreciate SkeLeton's perspective. This is the core of how we got into this mess in the first place. We have been muddling in other nation's business for far too long.

    We need to seriously rethink our foreign policy and how we deal with nations, especially the ones full of people who hates us for real and perceived wrongs we have done them.

    I disagree that we cannot fix this (and I don't just mean how we deal with Iraq but also other nations). We can, but not with the current mindset and most certainly not with the current administration. Making peace with the Middle East and other Islamic nations will take a long, long time. We have to fix Iraq or at least mollify the situation in Iraq because we broke this country. We have to stay for a while, not out of remorse, but out of responsibility.

    The solution has to come from the work of all parties concerned. We cannot continue to force our solutions on others. We (the United States) certainly does not accept the solutions others want us to accept (Kyoto Treaty, for example, though personally I think we should).

    Diplomacy and nation building at the point of a bayonet never works. The United States has to give up these fumble-fingered and draconian methods and start a new approach. What we've been doing clearly isn't working.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

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  22. #22
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    On the other hand, from an Iraqi perspective. A foreign army occupies the country. That army has the power to kill, destroy, kick in the door of your house, sieze your property, incarcerate your family members, etc. and that army is only under a code of military justice from the foreign country. There is no local court that can review the damage, death, injury, destruction by the occupiers. Consider what your own life would be like if the local police had those powers and there was no judicial system where you could bring a claim against the government.

    If we cannot establish the basic civil institutions and law -- and continue to have powers that exceed the law in a civilized country, we should leave.

  23. #23

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    God, I'm agreeing with jaws also: And Skeleton. Iraq is our Syracuse.

    How are we going to fix things? Who is willing to serve? We've broken things, and it will be ugly, but the Iraqis need to come to their own understanding. Our presence there worsens things!

    Just like the Athenians, American Hubris goes before a fall, we cannot believe our government can do wrong. We need to get over ourselves. We are not the most virtuous. W e are not the only path to freedom. We are not the only example for the world. (Note, I am also not saying we are uniquely evil or the source of all problems-but given our weight in the world, we cause more than our "share.")

    And at a trillion dollar cost, massive government debts, the off-shoring of our former economy, and a population who largely believes the earth was created 6,000 years ago and that Jesus personally annointed George W Bush-what a fun fall it will be.

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