Sunday, August 21, 2005

Get out of Iraq...Now!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Influential Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said on Sunday the longer the United States stayed bogged down in Iraq, the more it looked like another Vietnam.

If Senator Hagel—in suggesting that Iraq is analogous to Vietnam—is referring to the loony lefties who irrationally protest every military action directed by a Republican Commander in Chief, while remaining deafening silent about (or heaping praise upon) military engagements which have been conducted by a Democrat CoC…then I would agree with Chuck Hagel. Sadly, that’s not exactly what he meant.

"I don't know how many more casualties we're going to take. We're spending a billion dollars a week now (in Iraq)," said Hagel.

More than 1,800 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq and thousands more have been wounded.

"We should start figuring out how we get out of there. But with this understanding, we cannot leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East," said Hagel.

Hagel’s statements should certainly be seen in the context of his Presidential aspirations. After all, he has to get through the Primaries, right? But his intrinsic opportunism aside, he clearly wants us to consider his views on Iraq, as he expressed them on national television. Alright then, let’s look at what he’s actually saying. Bottom line: get out of Iraq now, but we can't leave a power vacuum. No…those two propositions aren’t mutually exclusive. But seriously, what is the prudent course of action, given the realty of the situation? Well, according to a July 28th Washington Post article
"The great desire of the Iraqi people is to see the coalition forces be on their way out as they take more responsibility," [Prime Minister Ibrahim] Jafari said at a news conference with Rumsfeld after their noon meeting in Baghdad.

But Jafari said a withdrawal would require "picking up the pace of training Iraqi forces," as well as carefully synchronizing the U.S. withdrawal as Iraqi forces took charge of different parts of the country.

"The withdrawal should be whenever the Iraqi forces are ready to stand up," Jafari said. "We don't want the Multinational Force to have a surprise departure.

That’s really the only reasonable strategy at this point. Regardless of your view of the current Administration or its rationale for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, we’re there; and a premature pullout would only have disastrous consequences. For if the Taliban could enable al Qaeda to successfully plan and execute their fateful attack from such a backward place as Afghanistan, one can only imagine what would become of Iraq, if indeed all U.S. troops were to evacuate before a capable Iraqi defense force is established. Is this not blindingly obvious by now?