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June 27, 2006


There's one more important point for Democrats.

Amnesty. Amnesty is a completely crazy idea so long as we have significant numbers of troops in the country, because it's an open invitation to go after our men and women. But amnesty is not a crazy idea if we have decided that Iraq really is a sovereign country and that, if that country decides retroactively that they were engaged in a legal insurgency against us, then those who fought can't be prosecuted.

The GOP is apparently already considering amnesty, both the old bulls who voted for it, and whoever negotiated al-Maliki's current drawdown plan. That can't be negotiable, amnesty plus drawdown. We may not be able to prevent amnesty (nor is it really clear we should, if Iraq is a sovereign country). But so long as we are there impinging on Iraq's sovereignty, amnesty needs to be off the table.

The only problem is the assumption that "[v]iolence will decrease or at least stay at current levels." The real trend-the one actually happening on the ground in Iraq-is more violence than a year ago. It has been my opinion for a while that, at some point. the admin will declare our job done and begin to withdraw troops regardless of the situation on the ground.

Cheney is on on record stating that "we will hunt the last insurgent down" in Iraq.


Cheney has been wrong on almost everything he has said, so i have no dowbt he will be wrong about our hunting down every last insurgent, particularly as that is impossible. And, as I said, they will just redefine "stability" if things get worse.

Bush is right that his successor will have to deal with Iraq only in the sense of dealing with the consequences. Our troop presence in Iraq itself will probably be pretty minimal by that time. Hard to say what the country itslef will look like, and a lot has to do with what we do in/with Iran.

Whether General Casey's "plan" or some other becomes the means for withdrawal/redeployment, there will be, I wager, 20-30,000 troops in permanent "forward operating bases" on January 20, 2009 (perhaps most or all in Iraqi Kurdistan) - and my guess is the Democrats, if they are in control of a house or two of Congress and the White House after that, will keep those troops stationed there.

I disagree that "our troop presence in Iraq itself will probably be pretty minimal by that time." Some drawdown will probably occur right before this November's election, but then troop levels will go back up as far as Bush/Cheney can force the military to stretch itself, further damaging our future readiness. Rove's plan is simply this (and he doesn't care how many American lives it costs to accomplish it): force the next president (a Democrat or more moderate Republican, because who isn't compared to Bushco?) to withdraw substantial numbers of troops. Then, when Iraq implodes, as it certainly will, all Democrats and moderates can be blamed for "losing Iraq" and all the terrible consequences that will follow.

It's official. A majority now support withdrawal from Iraq over the next year, per Gallup.

A majority of Americans say Congress should pass a resolution that outlines a plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday. Half of those surveyed would like all U.S. forces out within 12 months.

And although Bush's ratings are up, not so much good news for either party on the issue:

The percentage of Americans who say the president has "a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq" has dropped to 31%, a new low. That's still higher than the 25% who say congressional Democrats have a clear plan for Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Dems are associating themselves with "General Casey's withdrawal plan."

And I doubt that Bush/Cheney will increase troops in Iraq next year unless Iran looks like it's coming over the border.

Watching the Congressional debate on Iraq, "to leave or not to leave" reminds`me of that old Jimmy Durante song, did you ever get the feeling that you wanted to go, but you wanted to stay?

I think we're going to be on Iraq's timetable and that of the UN Security Council. Just as the last authorization from the UNSC was about to expire, Das Bush plopped into the Green Zone to do some serious arm twisting. Right after his unvited visit, Maliki requested that the UNSC extend its authorization for US Troops to reamin in Iraq, for another 6 months. I don't think the Iraqi Gov't was going to ask for it to be extended after the Haditha massacre, but for Bush's visit. We already got our marching orders, from Iraq. Das Bush is just trying to make it look like he's the Deciderator.

We are never leaving Iraq. Most of the soldiers realized this right away. There will always be a strong presence. The embassy. The CIA avoiding the country.

First-time poster over here at TNH - didn't have the guts to do it before.

Personally, I was not that big a fan of the Levin-Reed resolution. To me, it is not much of a variation on the position the Democrats had on Iraq for the 2004 elections.

Personally, the more this war drags on, the more there will be support for a resolution such as the Kerry/Feingold bill. That is a concrete proposal on how we should get out and when.

Having just finished Kevin Phillips American Theocracy, I am convinced that our quest for oil was a major reason for Bush/Cheney to invade and control Iraq. So what does a withdrawal mean? Abandon the real cause for the war (longterm oil security)? Knowing all the reasons we didn't go to war there(WMD, democracy-for-Arabs, war on terror/9-11), it is very believable that oil was the reason. If so, this would counter any conjecture on serious withdrawal from Iraq. My guess would be permanent bases in the country ala South Korea.

My guess would be permanent bases in the country ala South Korea.

Considering that four such bases are abuilding, and the Pentagon has already spent several billion dollars on that construction, I would say that your guess has already been proven correct. See the article A Permanent Basis for Withdrawal? on the Tom Dispatch site. Indeed, I suggest that all the commenters read this article before they write a word more on this subject. And mimikatz, THIS MEANS YOU.

Paul Lyon: If you read what I wrote, that was precisely my point, and hence the title. We aren't "leaving" in the sense that we will keep a few tens of thousands of troops in Iraq at those bases, but we will be "leaving" in the sense that 90,000 troops will be out of Iraq sometime next year. Bush is trying to have it both ways.

That's our good ol' straight-shooting President George, play it straight for the nanosecond the public is playing attention... then run off with the loot and when they catch up just confuse 'em all over again. Sort of a modern establishment form of Bonnie and Clyde or Butch and Sundance or .....

MB: my guess is the Democrats, if they are in control of a house or two of Congress and the White House after that, will keep those troops stationed there.

Why do you think that? I'm not arguing, but asking.

I've been operating on the assumption that Democrats, if in the White House and in control of at least one chamber of Cognress, will end the occupation completely. It is one of the only real differences between the two parties' policies toward Iraq, to the extent they could be said to have such policies.

Kerry renounced bases during the debates in Oct 2004. Clark has renounced bases, and called on the admin to do so. Even Joe Biden opposes bases (his amendment passed the Senate last week and is part of the defense authorization for 2007, at least until stripped in conference).

Is that all for show? I.e., if/when it came down to it, they'd be just as unwilling to take on the imperial project (as well as risk the political screaming from the right) as they've always been?


Sorry if my comment was a bit strident. But you wrote such things as ``Our troop presence in Iraq itself will probably be pretty minimal by that time.'' above.

Just one of those four bases alone is designed for 20,000 troops. (The one first discussed in the Tom Dispatch article). If the Pentagon staffs the four to what I assume is the desired (that is, designed for) level, the residual force will be in the range of 40,000 to 50,000 or maybe even more, together with rather a lot of military hardware, including tanks, helicopter gunships, fighter jets, large transport aircraft, &c. That doesn't seem to me to be minimal. I suspect that the intent is that there should be enough force there to be able to mount a significant military strike on short notice in Iraq or in any of the surrounding countries (including our alleged ally, Saudi Arabia.) That would enable Washington to lean rather hard, as it would be deemed necessary, on any of the governments in the region. Which would in turn give Washington power over potential rivals including the EU and China, and thus would help ensure the aspirations in the current ``defense'' doctrine, viz. that the U.S will have no military rival.

We can not win in Iraq and we will not win in Iraq regardless of how many troops or how much firepower we have there. Not if the majority of Iraqis do not want us or our policies there. Regardless of the kind of pupetts we put in charge. Hey I thought we were trying to install a democracy but if the vast majority of Iraqis don't want us there then staying isn't very democratic now is it. It certainly is a shock that the pupet government we setup in Iraq has aksed us to stay.

In 1918 Britain invaded Iraq with a huge disparity between their military might and technical know how and setup the Anglo Iraq Oil Company where all the oil flowed to Britain, soon there were so many suicide bombings and so many dead Iraqi and British troops, they had to leave. I heard the US death toll is like 3,000? Some guy said in 2003 the only good Amercan is a dead American. I was angered when i first heard that. Now I agree with it. I wonder when the revolution will start. Seems like there are at least 3,000 good Amerikkkans!

When Abe Lincoln fought the the seceding states, he wanted to maintain the union. When JFK fought the communists in Vietnam, he wanted to repel the expansion of the communists in Southeast Asia. When Truman fought the North Koreans, it is to protect the democracy in the South Korea or prevent the dissolution of South Korea. But what was the reason why GW Bush fought Saddam, it was initially because he had allegedly weapons of mass destruction. After it had been discovered that Saddam had none of those weapons, GW Bush changed the reason, that was, to liberate the Iraqis and plant democracy in Iraq. Now, the Americans cannot just leave Iraq because such would cause catastrophic genocide. Well, if too many cooks spoil the broth, I think as does too many reasons for war also spoil the result.

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