The big “debate” these days is between those who say we should stay the course and those who say we should set a time table for departure.

I discuss(dismiss) both options below.

Promoted by Steven D, because the subject is one we should be debating. I don’t necessarily endorse the conclusion that rdf comes to, but I think that we, as a community, and as progressives, need to begin this debate. Therefore, I’d like to see us use this diary as a starting point for discussing what American policy toward Iraq should be, other than Bush’s frequent refrain of Stay the Course.
Some background:

The reasons given for invasion were those that the troika (Rove, Rumsfeld and Cheney) thought would sway public opinion best: WMD, 9/11, and make the world safe for democracy.

The real reasons were something like these:

  1. Replace bases lost in Saudi Arabia
  2. Install client government which would sell oil on the world market under favorable terms
  3. Intimidate neighboring Arab states
  4. Prevent China from getting long-term oil contracts in the region.

How are we doing?

  1. 17-19 bases completed or nearly completed
  2. A work in progress
  3. Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Libya all behaving “better”
  4. Accomplished. China is now making deals with secondary suppliers like those in South America

If we were to “pull out” what would happen to the region? Would the disagreements between Iran and Iraq disappear? Would the states that we have intimidated continue to behave moderately or would they revert back to their old patterns? Would the Iraqi puppet government continue to favor the west or would it collapse?

It is time to consider whether the object of permanent bases is so bad. Getting the troops out of the population centers is obviously needed, but is total withdrawal? Notice Murtha doesn’t talk about leaving he talks about “re-deployment.” This is what he means. We had bases in Saudi Arabia for decades and the troops had minimal interaction with the rest of the country, why not the same pattern in Iraq?

What’s 17 more bases when added to the 750 we already have spread around the globe?

Staying is impossible, occupations always fail eventually (look at Algeria or Vietnam).

Leaving would open the region to even more chaos.

Staying on fortified bases may be the best option. Counter arguments?

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