Hat tip to KibbutzAmiad for a comment made a few days ago which is one of the best I have seen. This whole nonsense (which I also pointed out the hypocrisy of the “temporary nature” of the escalation) about the United States not being able to withdraw from Iraq because “the terrorists will just wait us out until we leave” has gotten to be beyond stupid.
Here is the thing, which I reiterated on this past week’s FrameWork:
The Iraqis live in Iraq. The Sunni insurgents, the Shiite militia, al Sadr and the other factions of government who we may not hold in “high regard”. It is their country. And unless we plan on OCCUPYING the country forever, they will “technically” wait us out – if we leave next week, next month, next year, in 10 years, 100 years or 200 years.
This isn’t a “should we or shouldn’t we withdraw” issue. It is a question of HOW and WHEN. This is a country with a government that is barely functioning and that is not trusted. And we are STILL hearing this blathering nonsense. From Cheney:
"It is impossible to argue that an unconditional timetable for retreat could serve the security interests of the United States or our friends in the region," Cheney said. "Instead, it sends a message to our enemies that the calendar is their friend, that all they have to do is wait us out — wait for the date certain, and then claim victory the day after."
It has become a standard part of George W. Bush’s litany for why he will veto a congressional plan for setting a timetable for withdrawing U.S. combat forces from Iraq: “Why would you say to the enemy, ‘Here’s a timetable. Just go ahead and wait us out?’”
From Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee:
On Iraq, he said if America pulls out now, the country will lose credibility, and it will tell the terrorists "they don't have to beat us, they just have to out wait us."
To them, and to all the others who make these stupid statements, all I can say is “BULLSHIT”!!
It is disingenuous and completely irresponsible to talk like this without thinking past talking points, catchphrases and other pandering statements. We HAVE to get out. Sometime. Sooner rather than later. Not as soon as we want, but pretty damn soon. To think ANYTHING otherwise is doing a complete disservice to our troops, the Iraqis, America and the rest of the world. NOBODY should be in a leadership position if they take this dangerous stance.
Getting out hastily will be ugly. But our continued occupation is a root cause of much (not all, but much) of the violence. As thereisnospoon said the other day, if we leave Iraq, people like al Sadr and the Iraqi government will have to start governing. Just like Hamas – when they were elected to power, they had to stop using Israel as the excuse for all of the damage, destruction and start to govern – otherwise they wouldn’t be in charge anymore. Now, there is still violence there, but it is a good basic example.
The debate must keep changing – the Overton Window must continue to be pushed. Talk needs to be about HOW we get out, and what needs to be done in conjunction with a withdrawal.
Obviously there are many things – as I have previously said, there are many things that must be included in any serious plan:
For starters, you need to:
- engage with Iran and Syria;
- have peacekeeping troops or some presence (NATO/UN?) to help with humanitarian issues;
- negotiate with Iraqis (al Sadr, etc.) to make sure that our troops can withdraw without being targeted (as much as possible);
- logistics of getting the equipment out;
- involve Saudis, Pakistan, Turkey, and Europe to figure out how to rebuild and make everyone have some benefit and skin in the game; and
- restart all Iraqi state run businesses. This will cost around $150 Million and will get hundreds of thousands back to work immediately.
But this talk about justifying staying in Iraq indefinitely and not withdrawing has GOT to stop. The people who continue to speak these lies and this nonsense need to be called to the carpet as lacking foresight, not being realistic and being disingenuous liars.
It is their goddamn country. They can wait us out forever.