Friday, October 17, 2008

Iraq: What Happens When We Withdraw?

Johnny McCain wants an open ended conflict in Iraq. He insists that withdrawal is surrender. Obama, on the other hand wants to begin withdrawal soon after he takes office and have everyone out in 16 months. McCain tries to portray Obama as a coward, who knows nothing about conducting a war, thus a withdrawal by Obama is surrender.

Unfortunately, whoever is elected president next month is going to have to deal with the mess conjured up by the Bush Regime. My guess is that the two warring tribal groups are simply waiting out the U.S. withdrawal, whenever it comes, next year or later. Once U.S. military forces are out, warfare will begin. These groups have been at each others' throats for centuries. They will continue their fight.

Iraq will descend into anarchy in a short time, unless peacekeepers are brought in. Let us hope that, when the trouble begins our leadership isn't stupid enough to go in alone, if anyone goes in. If McCain is president, we can be pretty sure that he will follow Bush's lead and do a unilateral invasion once again. He has said he doesn't care if U.S. forces are still there 100 years from now.

Iran will enter the vacuum left by U.S. withdrawal. They are waiting now for a time to exert their full influence over Iraq. Their interest is tribal and they will ensure their their superior tribe is in power. They fought a long war with Sadaam and do not want another. In addition there is probably some desire to control more of the Middle East and the oil in Iraq as well.

Rest assured, Iraq will not be out of our hair for a long time. If Obama wins, he will be between a rock and a hard place once Iraq heats up again, and it will. Even now, despite McCain's rosy picture, Iraq is still very unstable, and a spark could set it off, once the insurgents feel that it is safe for them to move.

There have been many U.S foreign policy blunders over the course of the last 60 years. Two of the worst were the U.S. allowing France to return to Vietnam after World War II, and George Bush's unilateral, unprovoked invasion of Iraq. Both caused the unnecessary loss of too many American lives and pushed the country into internal turmoil. Let us hope that the next president can clean up the mess that Bush is leaving without the great loss of life and the maiming of so many of our youth.

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