Abandonment of Iraq is Wrong

Gustafson, Erik K.

By Erik K. Gustafson Illustration by Gregory Nemec Abandonment of Iraq Is Wrong In April we lost Marla Ruzicka, a passionate American advocate for victims of war, and Sheikha Lameah Khaddouri...

...Advancing these goals will require the assistance and cooperation of other nations, including Iraq's neighbors...
...policy shift has been under way for over a year now, thanks to Iraqi leaders, solidarity efforts, and popular resistance...
...Those of us who were there in March 1991 while Iraqis were being massacred by Saddam Hussein recognize a moral obligation not to abandon the Iraqi people for a second time," says Charles Sheehan-Miles, a decorated combat veteran who directs Veterans for Common Sense, a progressive national security organization of more than 12,000 members...
...occupation is made obsolete...
...withdrawal (not abandonment) and for a fully independent, stable, and democratic Iraq...
...officials accountable, we should work for the development of a legal system that makes a difference in the lives of all Iraqis...
...Things can get much worse...
...withdrawal...
...withdrawal would leave a tremendous power vacuum...
...Foreign extremists and Iraqi insurgents will continue to assassinate government officials, trade unionists, women activists, academics, Shiites, and members of other targeted communities...
...We must therefore work to build strong, international support for the following four goals: ensuring the protection of civilians and human rights...
...Of course, popular resentment over the lack of security, the failure to hold senior officials accountable for U.S...
...The insurgency in Iraq has no unified vision, no Ho Chi Minh...
...Unable to match pervasive organized crime and insurgents, Iraq's fledgling security personnel would abandon their posts en masse...
...Finally, we need to guarantee there will be an end to the U.S...
...left Vietnam on April 30, 1975, it was clear the war would end...
...So it's difficult to mention a date until the situation gets back to normal...
...custody...
...Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and other neoconservative ideologues...
...This change reflects a growing understanding among Iraqi leaders that without a force capable of guaranteeing some measure of security, conditions would get even worse, no matter who was responsible for creating the situation to begin with...
...military presence in Iraq will not end the violence for the foreseeable future...
...invasion of Iraq, the people suffered under a brutal dictator...
...The U.S...
...invasion of Iraq, the violence of the conflict has claimed the lives of 1,214 U.S...
...invasion not only sparked violent Iraqi insurgents, it opened Iraq's borders to foreign terrorists who now pose a threat to international security...
...set a timetable for withdrawal...
...We would expect Iraq might break up because we don't have a powerful government to prevent this from happening...
...You can't fix a mistake with another mistake," says Zaid Albanna, board president of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center, where I work...
...Although some worthwhile parallels may be drawn, the U.S...
...In late January, Prime Minister-elect Ibrahim Jaa-fari told Trudy Rubin of The Philadelphia Inquirer, "If the United States pulls out too fast, there would be chaos...
...Protest is not enough...
...On the home front, such a statement is something all progressives can call for, alongside a key constituency too long absent from the contemporary peace movement, Iraqi Americans...
...But immediate withdrawal is not a policy option...
...Though we would certainly wish it were different, bringing an end to the U.S...
...It will also require the resources of the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League, and other multilateral institutions...
...Without a functioning court system in place, due process is unavailable to most of Iraq's prisoners...
...Since then, more than 5,000 Iraqis have been kidnapped and Baghdad city morgues alone have reported more than 14,000 deaths by other than natural causes...
...As the Reverend Jim Wallis of Sojourners writes in God's Politics, "Saying no is good, but having an alternative is better...
...For those Iraqis held in custody, Human Rights Watch reports: "Iraqi authorities, in particular the Ministry of Interior, practiced torture and illtreatment of detainees, denial of access by families and lawyers to detainees, improper treatment of detained children, and abysmal conditions in pre-trial detention facilities...
...intentions, and create conditions that shift support away from insurgency toward participation in Iraq's new government...
...Paul Bremer would still be in Baghdad...
...Immediate withdrawal would remove U.S...
...A leading military strategist and critic of Bush's Iraq policy, Anthony Cordesman, reports, "The good news is that very real progress is being made to organize a mix offorces that can deal with Iraq's critical crime problem, and in creating the kind of combat elements within Iraqi forces that may be able to take on insurgents and terrorists when they get the right leadership, experience, and equipment...
...Together we can create the conditions necessary for a responsible U.S...
...Marking the two-year anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, tens of thousands of his supporters rallied in Firdos Square, Baghdad, demanding only that the U.S...
...On the eve of the U.S...
...Nowhere is this truer than in U.S...
...These failures have also given rise to widespread Iraqi resistance to the U.S...
...In Iraq, it would likely escalate...
...pulls out immediately...
...it is necessary to show a better way...
...Therefore, the Bush Administration must allow greater international involvement in Iraq and exercise the kind of leadership that works with the world, not against it...
...occupation, both nonviolent and violent...
...The Pentagon would still be in control of nation-building in Iraq...
...Daniel Byman of Brookings's Saban Center for Middle East Policy writes: "Here is where the Vietnam parallel breaks down...
...war in Vietnam offers more contrasts than similarities...
...now it is a relief to Iraqis that Saddam Hussein is finally gone...
...The militias of rival Shiite parties and Kurdish pesh-merga would quite likely put the protection of their own members and interests ahead of that of the nation...
...As with the careless Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, a precipitous departure by the United States from Iraq would invite Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks operating there to claim victory and solidify its power in the region...
...Since the U.S...
...foreign policy blunder in a generation...
...Yes, Iraqi leaders want the U.S...
...That should be our goal...
...We must provide Iraqis with the funding and technical assistance they need to build and strengthen the civilian institutions that underpin their fledgling democracy...
...Before we can consider a viable alternative to the U.S...
...In January, the United Iraqi Alliance, the leading Shiite party that is close to the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, revised its position from a call for a definitive timetable for withdrawal of multinational troops to an emphasis on the importance of establishing Iraq's capacity to provide for its own security...
...military protection of Iraq's transitional government and eliminate an indispensable "force multiplier" for the Iraqi police and military...
...Until Iraq has a reliable government and a combateffective military and police force capable of serving and protecting its people, a U.S...
...Without strong national institutions, the rule of law, trust in a lasting power-sharing arrangement, or adequate defense, the transitional government and emerging constitution will not survive...
...increased political inclusion and reconciliation...
...First off, we must acknowledge that Iraq is not a country in Southeast Asia...
...And the Bush Administration has accelerated the training of Iraqi security forces...
...Instead, they are determined to accelerate the process by which the U.S...
...As a progressive, I believe the most responsible way for the U.S...
...By Erik K. Gustafson Illustration by Gregory Nemec Abandonment of Iraq Is Wrong In April we lost Marla Ruzicka, a passionate American advocate for victims of war, and Sheikha Lameah Khaddouri al-Sakri, a member of Iraq's National Assembly and a courageous voice for women's rights...
...Before the U.S...
...forces and Iraqi authorities have 17,000 men and women in custody...
...However, the vast majority of members of the Transitional National Assembly--including the three largest voting blocs-do not support a U.S...
...He noted that Al Qaeda "will set up shop" in Iraq if the U.S...
...Erik K. Gustafson is the executive director of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC), based in Washington, D.C., and serves on the board of directors of Veterans for Common Sense...
...Furthermore, roughly 11,000 are being held as "security detainees," without formal charges...
...The changes also redirect funds to Iraqi contractors, rather than expensive Western corporations...
...We want the tragedy to end...
...has a moral and international obligation to correct the situation and compensate Iraq and the Iraqi people for all the damage it has created...
...Even the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr falls short of calling for an immediate U.S...
...When the U.S...
...Fortunately, a U.S...
...service members and at least 21,000 Iraqi civilians as of May 1. Under such circumstances, the demand for "immediate withdrawal" is understandable...
...Yet to overcome the legacy of Saddam Hussein and the post-invasion failures of the Bush Administration, far more must change...
...invasion, Saddam released tens of thousands of convicted criminals, including murderers on death row...
...On April 11, Agence FrancePresse reported that U.S...
...to get out of Iraq is through effective institution building...
...job creation and Iraqi-led reconstruction...
...Without the change, the Bush Administration would still be operating from the original script of former U.S...
...And there would have been no elections...
...Since gaining control of the $18.4 billion aid package for rebuilding Iraq, the State Department has repro-grammed $4.8 billion to support smaller projects that create jobs and job training, rather than large contracts for Bechtel and Halliburton...
...to leave, but not immediately...
...Outside of Iraq's three Kurdish provinces, a nation of twenty-six million operates without a functioning judicial system or effective police force...
...One year after the disclosure of the now infamous torture photos from Abu Ghraib, we should not only demand a special prosecutor to investigate and hold U.S...
...This would further destabilize Iraq, abandon neighborhoods to organized crime and political violence, and potentially pull rival powers, namely Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, into a wider conflict...
...This statement would help to restore America's standing in the world, address widespread Iraqi suspicions about U.S...
...Iraq's oil sector would be privatized...
...To do so, the Bush Administration must issue an unequivocal declaration that the U.S...
...It's a statement of protest in reaction to the worst U.S...
...has no long-term interests in the territory or natural resources of Iraq, has no intention of maintaining permanent military bases on Iraqi soil, and will fully withdraw either at the request of Iraq's government or once Iraq is able to provide for its own security, whichever comes first...
...And the threat of intercommunal conflict would grow...
...building Iraq's institutional capacity for security, rule of law, and the prevention of corruption...
...military presence in Iraq...
...From Iraq, jihadists would continue their worldwide struggle against the United States and U.S...
...Contributing to violence and organized crime, Iraq's unemployment rate is as high as 40 percent...
...abuses at Abu Ghraib, and the slow pace of reconstruction have led some Iraqis to demand an immediate withdrawal...
...Stay the course" is not an option...
...Saudi Arabia in particular would be vulnerable, given the jihadist-linked unrest in that country and its long and open border with Iraq...
...That's why Howard Dean recently said, "Now that we're there, we're there, and we can't get out...
...withdrawal at this time...
...The U.S...
...Over the past two years, the Iraqi people have witnessed massive looting and destruction, the violent deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, skyrocketing crime and unemployment, increased terrorism, contractor abuses, the mismanagement of $8.8 billion in Iraqi oil revenue, and the torture of fellow citizens in U.S...
...For the militarily well-organized Kurds, that could mean seizing oil-rich Kirkuk or pushing for independence, either of which could precipitate civil war and foreign intervention...
...allies in the region: the equivalent of the Viet Cong deciding to strike California and Australia after they had won Saigon...
...occupation, we must begin with an accurate assessment of the current situation in Iraq...
...Iraq policy...

Vol. 69 • June 2005 • No. 6


 
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