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18 July 2010


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We will be completely out of the country in a couple of years. NO BASES! There will be none.

So much for the Neocon-Bush fantasy that the country will be a bastion for "democracy" against the dark forces of monolithic "Islamofascism." "Freedom is on the March!"

So far as I can see, the only positive thing to come out of this has been the death of Saddam Hussein and his two bloody sons. But taking those three out pales in significance when weighed against the other lives, American and Arab, lost or forever changed for the worse. Not to mention about a $4 trillion price tag and a loss American prestige and values that will take years to put right, if ever.

Strategically, where is Iraq now? Seems to me it's right back to the artificial creation the Brits cobbled together after WWI.

BTW, who is the man pictured in your post? One of the Kagans? If so for variety's sake I recommend the inestimable Paul Wolfowitz.


Colonel, thanks as always for your insightful comments.

While I realize that stated policy calls for the pullout that you refer to, what is it that makes you think that the policy couldn't change?

Yes, I understand that the domestic political and economic/financial/budget situation in the US would rationally compel a withdrawal, but reason doesn't always appear to be the compelling force driving US foreign policy.

Patrick Lang


It could change, but I don't think it will. pl


The trouble in Iraq will not die down for a long time as its neighbors will finance the various sides in a proxy war. Saudis the Sunni, Persians the Shia and the Turks and the Israelis each to different sides of the Kurds.

Then, when the Iraqis will have enough of it, there will be a military putsch in which some Colonel takes over and disciplines all sites by brute military force and a clever patronage system that pays everyone relevant.

His name will be S.....

William R. Cumming

PL! Hoping you are right but would not bet against the notion that some bases will remain after main US withdrawal for and by "Foreign governments."

frank durkee

Col. At this point who besides the Kurds, if anyone, actually wants us to stay and could politically support that stance?

Patrick Lang


Nobody. pl


I believe the man in the picture is Fred Kagan of the lovely fighting team of Fred and Kimberly Kagan.



What you're describing is what happened in Lebanon. At this point, there hasn't been any dictator taking power, but there certainly has been an ascendancy of certain groups (ie, Hezbollah). Lebanon today could be where Iraq is headed in 10 years. An interesting question is whether Lebanon is headed in a direction that is good for the West. In my view, I don't think it is.

p.s. I've always found your insights very informative.



Saddam Hussein wasn't worth a dead dog to me, much less the lives of thousands. The opinions and talking points of pledge of alegiance patriots and coward conservatives be damned.


No slight to Redhand intended. I am just extremely tired of hearing how removing Saddam was worthwhile given the disaster that has resulted.
As to Kagan, have you ever seen met someone who you despise from first sight? That's what the picture does for me. I guess the sub-concious knows something the rest of me doesn't. And why, dear God, is he named Fred?

I think I'll need a name change; or at least start going by Fredrick. (At least I only need one 'e').

Adam L Silverman

ASA: I don't think Iraq will go the way of Lebanon - other than, perhaps, a civil war. I had a discussion on this with one of the top Lebanon politics scholars (both a top scholar about Lebanon and originally from Lebanon) in the US at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual meeting this past April in Chicago. He and I were on a panel together and I was discussing the sectarian issues from my research in Iraq in 2008 - some of which I've written about here. He asked if I'd looked at the literature on consociational democracy, specifically as applied to Lebanon to see if it could illuminate Iraq. I've read that literature, both in the general and specific to Lebanon, and Iraq has some major differences. Despite currently having certain positions set aside so that the Iraqi president and the two vice presidents are representing the big three groups (Kurds, Shi'a, and Sunni), Iraq is not a consociational system, no one, that I know of, is really suggesting it should become one, and given the incredible fragility of consociational systems I can't imagine why anyone would want to make Iraq one.

Patrick Lang


Lebanese government is not structured the way it is because the various groups would have wanted it that way. pl

Brian Hart

And what if Bibi decides to make an attack on Iran's nukes?

Israel may want the US to stay in Iraq as a buffer and choose to act before we fully depart.

On the other hand if we leave, there will be a direct air corridor to Iran since Iraq doesn't have a functioning air force.

End games are dangerous.

robt willmann

So we do not forget, let us again bring forth the words of Colin Powell and Bush jr.'s National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in 2001 about Iraq and Saddam Hussein--

"He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction; he is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors." (Colin Powell).

"We are able to keep arms from him; his military forces have not been rebuilt." (Condi Rice).


So ... if Iraq was "unable to project conventional power against [its] neighbors" in 2001, then we can safely say that it could not float some soldiers and equipment across the ocean and make a landing at, say, Hilton Head, South Carolina, from which a successful invasion, regime change, and occupation of the U.S.A. would take place.

However, the U.S. Congress never lets facts or reality get in its way, and so it passed the "Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002", Public Law 107-243, signed by president Bush jr. on 16 October 2002.

Let us also not forget its limited wording--

"Section 3(a) Authorization. -- The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to--

(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and

(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."

We will ignore at this time the monstrously unconstitutional language which does not declare war on Iraq, but lets the president declare war, an unacceptable delegation of an enumerated power of Congress -- to declare war -- to the president.

Notice in section 3(a)(1) that Congress not only fantasizes that Iraq is a "threat" to the national security of the U.S., but that it is a "continuing" threat.

And the "relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions" would be those in effect before the 2003 invasion.

Section 4(a) requires that the president "shall, at least once every 60 days, submit to the Congress a report on matters relevant to this joint resolution, including actions taken pursuant to the exercise of authority granted in section 3 and the status of planning for efforts that are expected to be required after such actions are completed, including those actions described in section 7 of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-338)."

Every 60 days after 16 October 2002 would be -- what? -- 46 reports due so far? Anyone seen a stack of them sitting on desks in Congress, to the extent they all exist?

I wonder if any of the required "reports" talk about the estimated 4 1/2 million refugees existing because of our actions, part in and part outside of Iraq? And the number of injured and dead Iraqis. And the depleted uranium. And the number of injured and dead U.S. soldiers? And the money spent. And on and on.

Like others, I very much hope the Colonel is correct that the U.S. will be out of Iraq by 2012. I am doubtful that will happen, unless the supporters of the occupation believe that the huge U.S. Embassy there can house enough soldiers and CIA personnel to prevent any person or group from asserting Iraqi independence.

Iraq has too much oil, too much water, is in too prime a location, and with that oil comes money and financial impact.


Well, given the influence of Christianists in the US military, especially those raised in the rarified air of Colorado Springs, I kinda doubt we'll have "a functioning air force" when the Sons of Zion come across "Iraqi" airspace.
Mazal tov!

Patrick Lang


"Too much oil and too much water." Oh, my. So, the embassy has to be defended in order for American companies and businessmen to be able to make deals? Once again, are we going to steal Iraq's oil? Their sovereignty? We can't even get them to form a government. You think we are still in charge? Too much water? How is that water useful to us or anyone else that does not live in Iraq? Economic determinism rears its head again. You ougt to be worried about what the Baghdad mob might do to that embassy if you try to run the country from these. pl


Brian Hart:

And what if Bibi decides to make an attack on Iran's nukes?

Iran does not have nukes, according to the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community. I'm surprised how often folks just seem to forget that...



Thank you for your comments. I've always found you to be the voice of reason on some of the more passionate issues discussed at this blog.

Powers within Lebanon have grudgingly accepted a new power-sharing arrangement. They appear reluctant to fight another civil war in spite of efforts of outside forces to start one. Perhaps being confined to a small place has also helped.

For Iraq, I think an accommodation will eventually have to be reached. Once it's reached, it will be very difficult to break. Like Lebanon and Northern Ireland, once people experience calm after a long civil war, they will do almost anything to prevent a new war. Iraq may even need to be partitioned. In the end, like Lebanon, I don't think the results will be something the West will like.

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