We must leave Iraq... now
Juan Cole, who's been a "phased withdrawal" man till now, gives his reasons in a somewhat lengthy but fascinating post. But really it comes down to one simple idea: The U.S. presence is making things worse, not better.
After noting that the question is not, and has never been, whether the war was right or wrong, he then notes -- and this is going to ruffle some feathers -- that it's not about the nearly 2,000 dead American soldiers either.
He argues that there are two main reasons why "The ground troops must come out. Now. For the good of Iraq. For the good of America."
The first is that "they are being fatally brutalized by their own treatment of Iraqi prisoners." He writes that what we've seen at Abu Ghraib (and coincidentally Lynndie England was convicted shortly after he completed this post...) is only the tip of the iceberg and that there's no reason to believe that the abuses have ceased. And this, he writes is killing the American soul:
"The brutalization of the US military and of its prisoners is a brutalization of the entire American public. It is an undermining of the foundational values of the Republic. We cannot remain Americans and continue to behave this way routinely."The second: "is that the ground troops are not accomplishing the mission given them, and are making things worse rather than better."
Whoa whoa whoa whoa. NO, he's not blaming the troops. He goes on to outline the colossal failure of leadership from on high and the cascading effect of each poor tactical decision -- mostly alienating Sunnis. The troops, in effect, have been used and bamboozled.
He concludes with this warning for the future:
"Let's get them out, now, before they destroy any more cities, create any more hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons, provoke any more ethnic hatreds by installing Shiite police in Fallujah or Kurdish troops in Turkmen Tal Afar. They are sowing a vast whirlwind, a desert sandstorm of Martian proportions, which future generations of Americans and Iraqis will reap."(Informed Comment)
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