Some Reasons Not to Start Withdrawing from Iraq

With some discussion even among conservative friends that the U.S. should start pulling troops out of Iraq, Mortimer B. Zuckerman gives some good reasons in a recent editorial why we shouldn’t. When he writes, “For those who think it was a big mistake to go in, it would be a bigger mistake to quit now,” he’s referring to me. I never thought we should invade Iraq when we did; nevertheless, now that we’ve deposed Saddam (and the world is better for it), we need to stay until Iraq is stable.

The consequences of leaving Iraq prematurely could be a radical Islamic regime funded with oil revenues, an unfettered platform for terrorist attacks, destabilizing the Middle East and threatening America itself. Know the enemy. Zarqawi has a long history of terrorist activities. He organized the assassination of Lawrence Foley, a U.S. Agency for International Development official, in Amman in 2002, he planned terrorist attacks in Germany a year later, and he plotted last year to attack Jordan’s intelligence service and prime minister’s office, as well as the U.S. and Israeli embassies there. Three al Qaeda operators crossed from Iraq into Jordan, smuggling seven Katyusha missiles in the underbelly of an aging Mercedes with a hidden second gas tank. Moreover, Jordanians discovered a warehouse of chemical substances and 20 tons of explosives. The 71 types of chemical substances included nerve gas and substances that cause third-degree burns and asphyxiation. Ultimately, the terrorists were diverted, but this is the kind of mayhem we can expect if al Qaeda is permitted to establish paramountcy in Iraq. This year, of course, it was Zarqawi who masterminded the suicide attacks on the three tourist hotels in Amman in which dozens died.

In short, we must stay. What may have been originally a war of choice is now a war of necessity. So we must stop all this destabilizing talk about withdrawal. To withdraw to some timetable divorced from reality on the ground would grant militant Islam a huge victory, and Arabs who want to democratize and modernize would know they could not count on America to stand by its friends. Whatever the cost of our staying may be, the cost of retreat would be much higher. It would hardly persuade Zarqawi and his fellow terrorists to stop pursuing Americans around the globe. For those who think it was a big mistake to go in, it would be a bigger mistake to quit now.

Indeed, a withdrawal would be presented across the Arab world as a defeat of the American infidels by the jihadists who would inflate the glory of victory and attract many new followers. It would also undermine our strategy of hitting terrorists hard abroad, while loyal allies and new friends around the world would find themselves leaderless in the global struggle against Islamist radicalism. A loss of nerve and a humiliating retreat would seriously undermine America’s role in the world. Indeed, what a foolish time to talk of getting out, just when we are getting our act together with the accelerated and improved training of Iraqi troops, and just before an election when Shiites and Sunnis are working to form the sort of institutions required to build a nation and quell the low-level civil war. After all, the insurgency is not destined to succeed. They are not fighting for a clear ideology; they lack any great power backing; they lack a positive agenda; they lack a charismatic leader; they have no territory of their own; they lack the support of the Shiites and the Kurds, as well as a significant portion of the Sunni population.

When America has prevailed in foreign ventures, it has been in the places where it stayed–in places like Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, Afghanistan, never mind Germany, Japan, and South Korea; in the places where America left too soon–Haiti, Somalia, and Vietnam–the results speak for themselves.


  1. we sould get out of Iraq now.

  2. i think that we should stay because everything that we’ve done there would be a waste of time and money to just pull out now. If we leave now things will get worse and cause WWllll which is something we are trying to prevent

  3. No offense but its an established fact that americans can’t win a gureilla war (maybe your soldiers afraid to die or they think its purposeless war). Even If America spend next 50 years there, They simply can’t win this War. So WHY WASTE TIME THERE.

    I read in an article the other day that America killed over 8 million people in last century. (you call it saving the world, Interesting!).

  4. well no offense but i believe that we can win this war. The only way to is if we were to have more soldiers go and take control or protect on every block, and street. yes that sounds crazy but when it comes to protecting your country you’ll do what ever you possibly can to protect and tat is what our soldiers are doing. Now imagine everything that we have accomplished, as far starting to create democracy and the people there feeling some what free, will be destroyed because the Sunnies will come and take over and create fear in these people again. There are other reasons, oil and some of our soldiers in Korea and Afghanistan, we must think about them also and what may happen if we were to pull out of Iraq.

  5. i think that we should leave because we should focus on protecting the home land. and stop losing all of our soliders to a pointless war. they should be able to spend the rest of there lifes with their familys and not just 2 months only to go back ak-47’s and bunkers.

  6. by the way i am only a freshman in high school and i am smarter than all you fools out there!!

  7. I think they should stay and try to fix the amazing mess they triggered, but only if they manage to behave differently with local people.
    In the first place, that was an utterly wrong way to bring “democracy” by force, without respect.
    As Mahatma Gandhi said, “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?”.
    Really think about it and how you would feel personally if you were “liberated” in such a way. Better no political freedom than a bombed house, no? Now the USA have a huge moral responsibility, but what can they do since they are already so bad at trying to provide the slightest bit of a positive image to the population, every day? Yes, in this case, apologise and go back home (how brave!).
    By the way, talking only about your own boys reinforces the common idea that the USA go in war only for its own business, and never for good/great/noble ideas.

  8. Personally i don’t think we can win this war. fist we need the support of the people. A recent poll held by D3 systems shows that 52% of Iraqis hold no confidence in the coalition. You cant impose a new government on a different country that doesn’t want it. New governments are brought about through revolutions such as the American, Japanese, french revolutions. All were led by the people. Also there is no way were killing more terrorists than we are making. The Islamic world hates the U.S. more than it ever did before. For ever civilian we have killed their family will hate us even more and some will definably be inclined to fight back. Essentially making more terrorists. The estimate of civilian casualties in Iraq has totaled over 600 thousand (John Hopkins University). I wouldn’t call this helping the Iraqi people. You also cant deny that we have given a bad name to the idea of Democracy in the middle east. We have invaded and destroyed Iraq. I will say that it is a great thing Saddam is gone. The point is that we should pull out and simply advise the Iraqi government. Oh and we should defend the Kurds from what Turkey is doing. And continue to supply them just as we have been doing since desert storm.

  9. In response to Ehsen,

    Hitler managed to kill Over 11 million people just in concentration camps over a 12 year period. So when you put our 8 million killed in perspective I think you can say we are saving the world.

  10. Gangster has very good points but when was WW3?

  11. Im a little shocked at the comments being posted. Did people even take time to read the article and understand it? This article makes so much scence, its not even funny.

    People say that the troops need to be home with their families….I swear I hear people say that everytime the war is being brought up. Well, I say that they wouldnt exactly be known as a US Soldior if they werent serving their country at all, no matter what the reasons may be. The troops have what most americans dont have today….and thats NATIONALISM. Nationalism is what keeps them going. They have faith, and I support the troops in Iraq.

    People really need to understand this, and face reality here.

  12. I agree. Everyone always says we’re losing so many soldiers over their, it’s a pointless effort, and they deserve to be at home, not fighting elsewhere. However, people often don’t even know why we’re still their. We are helping support Iraq right now, stabilize their government and make sure it won’t fall apart as soon as we leave. Remember Korea; when America brought our troops home, North Korea instantly took advantage.

    Also, if we leave Iraq now and their new found democracy, now all the soldiers that did die, have now died in vein. To add to this, other nations might find us as unable to finish the job, that we’re not weak, possibly leading to even more attacks on the U.S, not only killing soldiers, but innocent by standers.

    Bottom line, we started this job, and we shouldn’t leave until it’s finished

  13. If we leave Iraq, that means all soldiers died for nothing in Iraq !!!!!!!!!

  14. Well, just to tell all the americans that the vision of your country after bush command, its anwfull, and discasting almost for ALL the rest of the world.

    Mostly entire europe think that EEUU are the biggest problem in the world, like a cancer, your model of society is dying, and all your “western film like” attitude its like when you see the taller and fat and of course ugliest boy of the high school class that he`s always pushing every body to feel someone himself.

    Maybe its just because you dont have any real cultural roots,only 300 or 400 years and feel such a kind of mental problem.

    Its funny to see how the yanki people have let the war industry to vamp all your country, even near to an economic disaster, and they let you believe something funny as “the problem of trash credits”.

    Dont be silly about to be or not to be, its just MONEY.

    and finally 8 million its the direct casualties, if you add all the dictators you have supported in the last 100 years you get ¡¡¡ 37,8 million¡¡¡.

    your country its a terrorist country, and you president must be juged as war criminal.

  15. I am sick and tired of people who don’t stand behind their own troops and government. The bottom line is, if we left Iraq, things would get even uglier than they are now. No, they won’t like us more if we leave. No, they won’t stop terrorizing if we leave. If we leave, they’re just going to think that they’ve won this war and guess what? They play off of the “fact” that they beat America, and draw in more support to their cause. Think about it. This article makes more sense than all of your mindless, liberal bullshit combined. Think about it.

    Oh, and by the way: you want the troops to come home and spend the rest of their lives with their families? Let me tell you something. Our military is volunteer. VOLUNTEER. Do you understand the meaning of this word? They understand why we can’t leave. Oh, and they’re over there fighting to protect their families. They’re fighting to protect your dumb asses. If you don’t stand behind them, please, feel free to stand in front of them. Because God knows this country doesn’t want you if you don’t support it. You rally for peace, to leave Iraq, to make love not war; if you hate America so much, then leave.

    Another thing, it doesn’t matter what you think we should do about the war, because it’s not up to you. That’s what Congress is for, people.

    And for God’s sake, learn how to spell. You’d think that because you know “so much” about this country, you’d be able to spell correctly. Go back to second grade.

  16. we should finish what we started. so i agree not to withdrawl from Iraq

  17. Liberal? Show me the mandate in the U.S. Constitution that says we should get involved in foreign entanglements. Why don’t you stop listening to the loudmouths on AM talk radio and read George Washington’s farewell address if you really want to listen to what a patriot has to say. He warned about getting involved in this type of foreign situation.

    Liberal? We are borrowing money to pay for this war. Did you know we are borrowing it from China?

    Liberal? Nothing expands the size of government like war. It never returns to pre-war size. I thought that conservatives did not like big government. Nothing threatens our civil liberties and the Bill of Rights like war. (Conservatives used to believe in protecting us from an over-reaching government. Now they believe in the Patriot Act. If you use the words “civil liberties” you are accused of being a liberal.)

    Liberal? If you really think this war is essential to our security, will you raise taxes? If so, who will you tax? Will you borrow more money? If so, who will you borrow it from?

    Liberal? Conservatives usually believe that government can’t solve our country’s problems. Perhaps so. How is it that we think that our government can create a better society in another country halfway around the world? Can we really do a better job of managing three groups of people that do not want to live together? It seems to me that Saddam did a better job of keeping Islamist terrorists out of his country than we ever can. At least al Queda wasn’t running around killing Iraqis at will.

    Conservatives used to believe in freedom of religon. Well,Christians were allowed to practice their faith under Saddam. A poorly kept secret is the fact that thousands of Iraqi Christians have had to flee the country since the invasion. It is now dangerous to be a Christian in Iraq.

    Liberal? Conservatives used to be wary of government. Now, if you disagree with your government’s war policy, you are accused of being a liberal or unpatriotic. So, if you don’t listen to government propaganda, you are either a liberal or worse.

    Liberal? I did not know that U.S. government interventionism was a conservative value.

    Conservatives attribute the fall of the Roman Empire to a similar decay of morality that we see in our country today. Perhaps so. But they forget to mention that the fall was caused my military overstretch in pointless adventures.

    There is a strong conservative argument against this war that is being suppressed by the so called neoconservatives, who are not really conservative after all.

    By the way, how do you know when we are finished? Do we stay there until there are no more car bombs? Do we leave when the various factions all decorate the ends of their rifles with flowers?

    Do we stay until there is well-established democracy in Iraq? Do we want a democracy in Iraq? Palestinian elections favored Hamas. Elections in Egypt favored the Islamic brotherhood.

  18. to this Nick fellows person.
    you sound like a freshman in highschool.
    protect are home?
    we are protecting americans from the terrorists in iraq.
    and these people are fighting because thats what they choose, next time you voice your opinion,know something about what your talking about.

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