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When Do We Leave Iraq?

Six out of 10 Americans say attacking Iraq was a mistake, according to recent polls. After the Iraqi elections, which caused neocon Republicans to swoon, the insurgency seems to have gotten stronger and more vicious. Over 1700 American troops - perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqis - were killed in the conflagration, so far. We have proof now that WMD and terrorism had nothing to do with the attack on Iraq. Many are asking the administration when will we leave Iraq? I wonder if we ever will.

Things have gotten to be so bad that a general is speaking out about his frustrations. Lieutenant General James T. Conway, director of operations for the Pentagon's Joint Staff, said:

"It is concerning that our public isn't as supportive as perhaps they once were. We'd like, I believe, to try to reverse these figures and start the trend back the other direction. Because it's extremely important to the soldier and the Marine, the airman and the sailor over there, to know that their country's behind them."

Definitely. But why isn't the country supportive? Because troops are dying. Because Iraqis are dying. Because we no longer believe the lies and excuses the Bush administration gave for the war. We're beginning to see that Bush fooled us all. According to the so-called Downing Street Memo, minutes of a meeting between Tony Blair and his advisors eight months before the start of the war, the U.S. had made up its mind to attack Saddam Hussein. Furthermore, as Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, stated on PBS on June 16, 2005:

"the intelligence and the facts are being fixed around the policy."

McGovern went further:

"I would go back to an earlier conversation, and this happened on the 20th of September, 2001, so nine days after 9/11. This involved Tony Blair, who was in Washington having dinner with the President. How do we know about this? We know this because Christopher Meyer, the UK ambassador, was there at the dinner, and he's written his memoirs.

"And what does he say? The conversation went like this. President Bush: Tony we're going to Afghanistan in a week or two, but that won't take long and we get out of there and go right into Iraq, are you with me Tony? Are you with me? And Christopher Meyer says my goodness, it was really, that Tony was sort of nonplused but he said yes sir, I'm with you, Mr. President."

Is it any wonder Americans want to get out? House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sponsored a bipartisan resolution asking the administration to tell us when victory will be achieved. How will we be able to recognize "victory"? Under what conditions would Iraqis be certain Americans will be gone? Not a time table. Only a path to "victory."

Reasonable, isn't it? But I'm not sure Republicans ever want to leave. Why do I think so? Well, I have received a few clues:

  • The Downing Street Memo indicates that WMD and democracy were not the reasons for attacking Iraq
  • The first thing our forces did was protect the oil wells; everything else was looted
  • We removed our bases from Saudi Arabia
  • We have built at least 14 bases in Iraq
  • We are building one of the biggest embassies in Iraq
Republicans do not have an exit strategy because they do not expect to exit Iraq. Maybe they have a strategy for the exit of some troops. But no exit from Iraq.

This is wrong. This is bad. This is reprehensible. Democrats deplore this. Not only did Bush and his cronies mislead the country and cause many Americans and Iraqis to die, Republicans intend to build a stronghold in Iraq from which to dominate the Middle East. Such imperialistic actions are bound to inflame Muslims and produce more terrorists.

Democrats are truly for spreading freedom and democracy around the world - not merely talking about them. This is why we want a plan for an exit strategy. A plan that specifies under what conditions we will leave the country alone to pursue its own goals. We feel that loosening control and treating Iraqis as well as we treat Americans is the best way to make friends with them and with other countries in the Middle East. In the last analysis, making friends is the best way to reduce world terrorism.

The Democratic question is

"When do we leave Iraq for good?"
Posted by Paul Siegel at June 17, 2005 3:50 PM