Has The Administration Lurched Into A Way Out Of Iraq?

On The News Hour tonight (20 Feb) the US Ambassador was shown warning the Iraqi politicians that they need to get their act together. He said that the US will not continue to spend our resources there unless they select political, military and internal security (police, etc.) leaders who are acceptable to all factions in Iraq. Unfortunately he didn’t specify a time limit that I heard.

What are the chances that they will do this, or even want to do this? And would this be a way to say, “OK, you had your warning. We quit because your selection of leaders is partisan, will cause endless strife, and we will not support that sort of thing with our money and military.”

And what would be the effect of this?

That sounds like a decent way to deal with the situation. People here and elsewhere have been advocating this general idea - telling the Iraqi government to get off their asses and stop relying on the US - for some time. The problem is that I don’t know how credible threats of “we’ll leave if you don’t shape up” are.

‘Free and democratic Iraq, able to autonomously select their own independent government, without a care in the world for any external pressure.’

I suppose there are still a few myths some people cling to, enabling them to argue that the US administration has some good and noble intentions in Iraq, however slight and ephemeral they may be. Because, dammit people want to believe they are on the side of righteousness.

But, baby, the bankbalance is zero. Eventually the myth of ‘democratize Iraq’ had to be torn down, lest the administration break faith with its support base.

So, does the US waving a cross finger at Iraqi politicians offer it a face-saving out? A way out with some credit? The bankbalance is zero and no growth showing.

It’s a hollow bluff. The neocons will never do anything to allow Iraq to slip into a civil war. It would undermine every last justification for the invasion.

I didn’t get the feeling that the warning was about their dependence on the US. Rather it was about the possible selection of highly partisan leaders for governmental units, such as the military and police who should be neutral between polititcal factions, who would favor one Iraqi faction, like the Shia or Kurds over Sunnis. And then after such a selection expecting the US to spend money and lives to help control the unrest that such a course would be apt to cause.

Again, it’s a good idea that I don’t have a problem with. I just don’t see what the ‘stick’ part of the equation is in “The US will not continue to spend our resources there unless they select political, military and internal security (police, etc.) leaders who are acceptable to all factions in Iraq.” The US isn’t going to stop spending its resources in Iraq any time soon. The people who organized and started this war think that a pro-US Iraq will be a very valuable asset, and they’re not going to give up on that. I’m also not totally sure where the Iraqis are going to find these unobjectionable leaders.

I don’t really see how this could be seen as any more than a scape-goating for failed policies. Better, IMHO, to just say they’re tired of wasting US soldiers’ lives.

well, that’s supposedly been the point the entire time: go in there, plug in democracy, put on training wheels, watch as they ride off in the sunset on their brand new, shiny wheels of democracy.

does it look like it’s going to be soon? well i sure as hell don’t see it. depending on what you’ve heard/believe (and that’s another point, when in the hell did there become different sources of truth? isn’t truth non-partisan? i realize it’s the spin, but you’d think that SOMEONE would come out with the freaking truth or get things right or relatively unbiased sometimes…npr excluded…but that’s another thread) the infrastructure in iraq is decimated with no repair in sight. let’s say that tomorrow we leave iraq. if we leave it in disarray, thus proving we’re no nation builders, just “corporation builders”. you can make an argument that says that the reaction to that would be more revolutionaries/terrorists sprouting up to do something about the condition.

where’s this going? glad you asked. no, i don’t think the administration has found a way out. even if they say they’re going to leave very soon. if they leave, the deomcrats will put it to them for leaving before the job is finished, even though that’s what we want. even after we go, we’re stilll going to be dumping money into it. it was just a pathetic investment for the country the entire way around…and such an amazing investment for a few companies that got no bid contracts. the soils, er…spoils system trudges on.

does it? i mean, ideologically, it may…but talking through the money/corruption vein, do you think it would as well?

I think that any failure of democracy in Iraq will be seen as a failure of the Bush administration…or at least, the Bush administration believes it will be seen that way. I think it would be difficult for them to wash their hands of corruption in the Iraqi government when they are the ones who put that government there in the first place.

I don’t believe there is any way the Bushies will risk destabalizing Iraq any more than it already is or allowing it to devolve into civil war.

This is the Bush administration. If they decide they want to pull out of Iraq, they’ll just declare a complete victory and say the troops are coming home because they’re no longer needed in an Iraq that’s become peaceful and stable.

what lengths do you think they’ll go to in order to maintain this status quo?
what are they going to do in order to not let it descend further/into civil war?

I agree that failure in Iraq looks like failure for the Bush administration. But I think the Bush people see that as a problem manageable through spin. I think David Simmons is right – this is the beginning of the end for the U.S. presence there. The American voters have had enough. For three years now, we’ve been told, “just wait till the referendum,” or “just wait till the election of the interim government,” etc. Well, we’ve run out of checkpoints. After the Iraqis are able to cobble a government together, there are no more “just wait untils.” The continued American presence there becomes a bigger political liability for the Bush people with each day that passes.

And what will the spin look like? “We did all we could, but the Iraqis just weren’t ready for democracy.” Or otherwise, it’s the defeatist elements in American society (people like me) who handcuffed our warriors and “didn’t let them get the job done.”

Sounds to me like there’s an election coming up.

More of the same. They’ll keep troops there and they’ll keep pouring money into the region. They’ve got the proverbial tiger by the tail over there. They can’t let go. I think they’ll at least hold on there until after the 06 Congressional elections. After that, the Republicans in Congress will have no more reason to align themselves with the policies of a lame duck president (who will continue to sink in popularity) and they will all start making noise about getting out of Iraq (especially the ones who want to run for president).

Wouldn’t it be a plausible strategy for them to gradually give up on Iraq, and concentrate on establishing a ‘stabbed in the back’ narrative in the public consciousness? I have read a few pieces of commentary in the English-language press these last one or two years, blaming franceandgermany, this well-established entity-meme, for not pitching in enough.

I think the OPs basic premise is right-the Bush adm. realizes that Iraq has become an albatross aroundits neck. I also belive that the continual US prescence actually fuels the insurgency. So pulling out is probably a wise thing to do. of course, we should retreat into fortified enclaves which are near the oil terminals near the Shatt-al-arab. Those 100 daily attacks?they are now called “incidents”. A car bomb? its now an undetermined explosion.
But I think pulling out might also allow for the eventual breakup of iraq, which i predicted years ago. without a vicious dictator to hold it together, there is no way that 3 ethnic groups that hate eachother will stay together. :smack:

Well, this is the first break by an Executive Department official from “Stay the course. As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.” An ambassador might be a good sounding board. If the idea catches on fine, otherwise, “The ambassador spoke without authorization.” is a back-out option. It is now 9 months from the Congressional elections. Just about time to construct a plausible, new story to cover an exit starting 10 November.

The administration might do as ralph124c suggests, which was what Rep. Murta suggested quite some time ago, and pull back to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The latter would, I think be a mistake. Our presence in Saudi Arabia is one of the major public complaints of the terrorist group responsible for 9/11, but that’s a different discussion.

That would go along with what Sal Ammoniac described as “managing the problem through spin,” but I think any success they would have with that approach would be mixed at best. I think it’s something that only the shrinking choir would buy. It certainly wouldn’t be enough to defend themselves from the amount of political hay which could be made by certain political opponents.

Of course, the Democrats largely put themselves right in the shit with the Reoublicans on this. Any Dem who supported the initial invasion is going to have a difficult balancing act but a Dean-style outsider who opposed the war from the beginning could have a field day if Iraq turns into Somalia. Sadly, the most stable result that could result would probably be a Shiite oligarchy- which would open the door for a credible Democratic candidate (i.e., someone who didn’t vote for the war) to prosecute a case that the invasion of Iraq had not only cost a trillion dollars and thousands of lives without any defensive justification, but that it also has (probably) served to transform one of the only secular countries in the NE into yet another Muslim theocracy.

Don’t you think it’s just a little too convenient that you’ve got an explanation for whichever way this turns out? Heads you win, tails they lose.

Look, Bush is not going to declare victory and leave. He doesn’t care about the political consequences of the war. Yes, I suspect we will start drawing down troops sometime this summer, and that we’ll be at around 100k by years end. But we’ll still be up to our necks in this thing right through the Congressional elections.

How many times has someone posted a similar OP in this forum, claiming they’ve finally figured out how Bush is going to save face and cut his loses? Ain’t gonna happen.