Withdrawal from Iraq — Contemplating the Consequences

The New York Times is making a big deal on their website about a leaked memo written by Colonel Timothy Reese, a U.S. military adviser in Baghdad. In the memo, Reese argues that we should accelerate our withdrawal from Iraq:

As the old saying goes, “guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Since the signing of the 2009 Security Agreement, we are guests in Iraq, and after six years in Iraq, we now smell bad to the Iraqi nose. Today the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are good enough to keep the Government of Iraq (GOI) from being overthrown by the actions of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the Baathists, and the Shia violent extremists that might have toppled it a year or two ago. Iraq may well collapse into chaos of other causes, but we have made the ISF strong enough for the internal security mission. Perhaps it is one of those infamous paradoxes of counterinsurgency that while the ISF is not good in any objective sense, it is good enough for Iraq in 2009. Despite this foreboding disclaimer about an unstable future for Iraq, the United States has achieved our objectives in Iraq. Prime Minister (PM) Maliki hailed June 30th as a “great victory,” implying the victory was over the US. Leaving aside his childish chest pounding, he was more right than he knew. We too ought to declare victory and bring our combat forces home.

This is in some ways reminiscent of the advice I used to hear from some officers when visiting Baghdad prior to 2008. Although this was not the majority sentiment by any stretch, some iconoclasts in uniform would claim that the task was hopeless, that the Iraqis could never be good partners, and that therefore we should pull out. In other words, they thought we should pull out because we couldn’t win. Now Colonel Reese suggests we should pull out because we’ve already won and can’t achieve anything more. His rationale — the allegedly hopeless state of Iraqi political and military culture — is identical to that once cited by those who wanted to pull out even when the war was still raging against us.

0
Shares
Google+ Print

Withdrawal from Iraq — Contemplating the Consequences

Must-Reads from Magazine

Democrats Go Soft on Anti-Semitism

Shameful.

I don’t always agree with Kenneth L. Marcus, the founder and president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. But he is without question the kind of person who might have been nominated in any Republican administration to serve as assistant secretary of education for civil rights. In fact, Marcus served in the same role in the George W. Bush administration on an interim basis. Yet Marcus received not one Democratic vote in the Senate Health, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which just voted 12-11, on party lines, to advance his nomination.

16
Shares
Google+ Print

Pod Shut Down America

But they fight.

On the eve of an ill-fated government shutdown in 2013, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof published a column that captured the sentiments of liberal opinion makers perfectly: This was all talk radio’s fault.

10
Shares
Google+ Print

Harvard Rewards an Iranian Hate-Monger

Another dubious honor.

What is it with the Harvard Kennedy School’s penchant for celebrating dishonorable characters? First came a speaking invitation and fellowship for the traitor formerly known as Bradley Manning. The Kennedy School disinvited Manning following a public outcry in September, but now its leadership has awarded a fellowship to an equally odious figure.

46
Shares
Google+ Print

The Left’s Immigration Radicalism

Mirror images.

Observers on the right must have been confused by the controversy that erupted following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s recent appearance on Fox News. What he advocated sounds at first glance like common sense.

7
Shares
Google+ Print

Presidents, Porn Stars, and America’s Soul

Podcast: Is America in decline?

So Trump pays off a porn star and it isn’t even the biggest story of the day. On the second COMMENTARY podcast of the week, we explore all angles of this peculiar state of affairs. What does it say about us politically? What does it say about us morally? And what does it tell us about the condition of the American soul? Give a listen.

3
Shares
Google+ Print