Pullout results (non-pregnancy related)

So we’ve beaten to death the ideas of “should stay/leave Iraq”, let’s just avoid that.

In the beginning of the war, you have people for and people against it. Some have changed their minds. On this board, it’s been asked of them **what ** changed their minds and asked of the still-supporters what it would take to change their minds.

Here’s a different (I think) question to those callilng for a pullout: Assuming we did a complete withdrawal the way you want us to, what would it take for you to say “Wow, that withdrawal was a really bad idea.” In other words, how could your plan turn out badly, so much so that you regret it.

State for the record:
Your idea of a withdrawal plan
What you expect the results to be
What could go wrong that you would regret your plan.

  1. Any withdrawal plan would be simply whatever would best get Coalition forces out of the region in a reasonable period of time given the transport resources available - e.g. as fast as possible without being a panicked rush to the airport/dock and leaving shit behind. An orderly strategic withdrawal in accordance with proper techniques. It’d take, I would guess, at least a few months.

  2. The likely result will be a short period of strife in Iraq followed by a strong-armed Shi’a dominated Parliamentary coalition running the country.

  3. A conflict that somehow spills over into neighboring countries and touches off a massive regional war.

1 : Leave as soon as possible.

2 : Chaos and slaughter - which is what I expect if we stay. With us gone they have a chance of eventually pulling something together; with us there they can’t.

3 : I can’t really think of much. I expect disaster no matter what we do. Perhaps us invading again .

A phased withdrawl plan where the US basically goes into a defensive posture while Iraqi units (in theory) would take up the burden. I used to think this was possible but I have serious doubts that it is anymore. I’m starting to think that we will either have to stay there for a long ass time or get out of dodge and let the chips fall as they will. Either way looks like disaster from where I’m sitting.

Of a phased withdrawl I expect that things will quiet down once it becomes clear we are leaving…and then the situation will explode once we are gone. Its possible (though not probable) that the Iraqi military will be able to hold together…at least in some places.

If we stay I think we will get pretty much the same thing we’ve been getting the last few years. A constant low grade insurgency, constant violence, no real way to repair the infrastructure or make things better. At least not for the forseeable future.

If we get out of dodge I expect the entire country to explode. I think people will be shocked as to how very bad it will be if we go this course.

Murphy is not only alive and well in Iraq he’s practically in charge there. I’d say my biggest regret will be for the Iraqi civilians who are going to have to face the music when (not if I don’t think) we tuck tail and bolt. And thats going to be a big bill for them to have to pay.

If you are looking for a worst case thing that could go wrong I would have to say that we get a full blown multi-factional civil war AND a regional conflict when Iran, SA, Syria and their pals decide to put a toe in. Oh, and we get all this right smack on top of the worlds major oil reserves.


Here’s what I see as a near worst case scenario that doesn’t involve nuclear war:

Our pullout means schools and electrical plants and water plants and roads currently being built and planned to be built goes unbuilt. Security and police forces we’re training do not have the proper training or funds to continue in any capability. Iraq’s infrastructure and internal defense crumbles, Iraqi citizens, the innocents, are left with no food or water or education or power or jobs.
Iraq plunges into a civil war between and among the Al-Queda, Sunnis, Shiites, Hamas and, well, let’s throw in outside forces from Saudi Arabia and Iran for good measure. The worst faction of them all ends up victorious after a long bloodshed (because who else could emerge on top but the most violent?).
The conflict of Iraq spreads through the Middle East. The hatred of the US brings in new terrorists. Eventually the new power convinces an Iraqi population without food or water or electricity or education that this whole fiasco is the US’s fault (which isn’t too far from the truth) and, what the heck, Israel’s as well for some reason.
So now we have a new nation of people who HATE the US (and Israel), but we’ll still have an underground group of terrorists and no easy access to them over there. So we have to defend diplomatically our actions to the world while finding ways to fight off secret attacks lest another 9/11 or Cole bombing occurs. Our international reputation lowers even more than it has and our former allies cut us off from any other foreign policy recommendations we have in the future.

That’s pretty damn bad. And it’s sad that the worst I can possibly think of can still happen WHILE WE’RE OVER THERE ALREADY. We aren’t giving them food or water or electricity or rebuilding infrastructure. Half the population is without a job. Civil war has broken out for a year now and we’ve lost credibility internationally.

So if the worst that can happen is already happening in slow motion, I see no regrets to pulling out. I only regret moving in in the first place.

It doesn’t matter. If we pull out and we end up not liking the result, either we tolerate it or we go back in and remove or kill the SOBs, just like we did Saddam. And then leave. Immediately. But I think the Iraqis will be far better atfinding a solution than us, even if it means partition of Iraq. Have we learned nothing from Yugoslavia?

Bush will openly and profusely apologize to Iraq and the rest of the world for starting this war without provocation. He will, to the best of his ability, give actual tallies as to the number of dead Iraqis due to this invasion, and apologize for causing those deaths. He will then ask for help from the U.N., explaining that our presence there is doing more harm than good, due to the harm we’ve caused by being there. He will specifically ask for help from countries whose citizens are far more sympathetic as a whole to the plight of the Iraqi people. He will volunteer to pay for all costs incurred by the U.N. in this effort. Once all of that is done, we make the switch.

Fewer dead Iraqis, and a diminished chance of an all out civil war.

The worst case scenario I can envision with my plan is that things don’t get better than they would have if we had stayed. Since I think that the worst case scenario is the same as staying, I’m not sure I’d have many regrets. It would also have the added bonus of starting down the path of restoring our image to much of the world.

Fat chance of it ever being on the table.

Pull back to the stable areas like Kurdistan. If there are no areas can be safely secured and supplied, then pull out of the country entirely.

Massive chaos and violence. In other words: status quo.

Zombie Saddam returning to power and invading America.

Inform the Iraqis that we’re leaving in one month. This gives Maliki time to deploy his (limited) military and police units in the best way. After that we pack up and leave. All military units, all private contractors, and all military equipment get removed from Iraq as fast as physically possible.

The various tribal groups and militias continue fighting exactly as they are currently doing. Eventually they grow tired of it and settle down. Iraq becomes a quasi-anarchy with each little patch ruled by a local chieftain/warlord. (Somewhat like Somalia has been for the past couple decades.)

Nothing would make me regret my plan. Obviously I would be unhappy with the suffering of the Iraqi population and I’d be unhappy if fighters trained in Iraq went on to commit terrorists attacks elsewhere. Nonetheless, those things are just as likely if we continue the American presence as if we follow my plan.

In winter of 2003 Iraq had a functioning national government and there were no international terrorists training in Iraq for al Queda or any other group. When Bush proposed this war, I opposed it precisely because I though it would harm the Iraqi people and benefit al Queda. If Bush had followed my advice, the Iraqi people would be better off and al Queda would be worse off. My conscience is clear.

Whatever the situation is right now, Iraq has not broken out into civil war with battlelines and artillery. There’s a whole level of carnage which has not yet happened.

Nor is Iraq comparable to Darfur or the Congo.

The OP is tricky though. The question is not whether the US will pull out, the question is when. It would be nice if tossing a couple of Friedman units prevented an all-out regional war. But if the US left in 2008 and regional war occurred, it might be difficult to say whether it would have happened anyway.

Nonetheless, the OP is certainly superior to what passes for political debate in this country: those who frame the choices are as either “Stay the course” vs. “Withdraw immediately” are not serious observers. How unfortunate that they are in charge.

At the moment the United States is keeping Iraq from going into all out chaos. Our existence there is also keeping it from getting much better. At this point we need to be gone to create peace, but the Iraq forces are in no way prepared or equipped to keep the lid on the pot.

With the U.S. in Iraq, Iran and Syria figure we are occupied and won’t be able to attack them. It is in their interest to keep the pot stirred. It is not in their interest to have Iraq in full-scale sectarian civil war. Those kinds of things tend to jump boarders, particularly when they are religious in nature.

It may not be possible under this administration, but the only answer I see is to go to Iran, Syria, along with the rest of the Middle East with our hat in hand and tell them we are leaving, and that if they don’t want the region to dissolve into the third world war they need to be part of putting Iraq back together. I can see UN forces having some input too.