Rethinking Iraq: A Debate Among Progressives

On Jan. 6, AlterNet ran a provocative piece by Senior Editor Lakshmi Chaudhry in which she questioned the wisdom of the call to immediately withdraw American troops from Iraq. Chaudhry asserted that we should consider the moral issues of immediate withdrawal, perhaps instead "transfer[ring] the control of Iraq to a truly multinational force entrusted with the humanitarian task of rebuilding the nation and helping the Iraqi people gain control over their future."

The piece set off a lively debate, and here we offer responses from four leading progressives who have strong feelings about how to get out of Iraq: Tom Hayden, foreign policy analyst Erik Leaver, author Jonathan Schell and Kamil Mahdi, a U.K.-based Iraqi intellectual. Taken together, they represent the first public debate over goals, strategy, and tactics within the anti-war movement since the 2004 elections.


Read the piece that started the debate, "Rethinking Iraq."

Tom Hayden says that the occupation itself is the chief cause of the insurgency and the upcoming elections are the cause of the impending civil war.

Jonathan Schell believes that no foreign power, not even the world's sole superpower, can create democracy in Iraq.

Kamil Mahdi says that Iraqi resistance and public awareness of neocon designs for empire will bring the occupation to an end – not the anti-war movement.

Erik Leaver says that in order to succeed, the anti-war movement has to answer the big question: what role should the U.S. be playing in the world?

In response, Lakshmi Chaudhry says that we control the country at this time, and so we must be the ones to come up with a plan to transfer control to an Iraqi-led process that has international support and financing.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.