Before you jump to any conclusions about this little rant, I should first say a few things:
1. Going into Iraq was probably one of the worst foreign policy decisions the U.S. could have made.
2. Staying in Iraq too long will not help foreign policy objectives in the future.
3. Leaving too early will only help to destabilize an all ready unstable area.
4. America’s domestic safety is not directly linked to leaving Iraq.
5. Remedying this situation equates to having to turn a landfill into a mountain of gold.
6. No matter what any party (Republican, Democrat or Other) says, none of them knows how to handle this dilemma.
7. A U.S.-Iranian War is not inevitable. However, another Iraq-Iran war is very likely.
Ok, now that we have that out of the way let me go into what’s been on my mind for a little bit. Between both of the major parties you hear either a) We need to stay the course in Iraq because it is vital to the safety of the U.S. or b) We need to leave Iraq now because it is vital to the safety of the U.S.
Is either one of these ideas correct outright? No. Is one better than the other? No.
McCain thinks the U.S. should keep a strong presence in Iraq for the stability of the county. And personally, he is right. Staying in Iraq would be great for their stability but not because of the reasons he gives. Radicals will not control the government as they were able to do in Afghanistan. Long term, Al-Qaeda is not the greatest concern for Americans interests in Iraq; Iran is. If the reports are true (which I always take with some skepticism) about the Iran trained men, then Iran has been training individuals not to provoke the American army but to keep the Iraqi government from gaining legitimacy. No matter how tough these leaders like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talk, no one wants to provoke a war with the maniacs running the U.S. military. Forcing American demilitarization of the region and a destabilized Iraqi government is much more important to Iran’s interests. Now, I’m not saying they want to provoke a war with the Iraqi’s either. But, I’m sure they’d like to have a greater hand in how things are run within their neighbor country.
Obama wants to get out right now. Well, not immediately. But, he’d like to phase out the military over 18-24 months. And personally, I agree with him too. The American military presence is no long necessary for the reasons the Bush administration continues to give. However, Obama’s reason for leaving isn’t the best of reasons either. Leaving just because we should have never been there is just plain ridiculous. Sure, thousands of people lost their lives. Sure, there could be much more that the U.S. could do there. But honestly, the necessity of U.S. occupation there in its current capacity has expired. However, it’s their capacity that needs to change, not their presence.
Depending on your standpoint, you either fear the consequences of leaving or you hate the idea of staying. However, it is in the combination of the two that will alleviate the problem of Iraq. Yes, we need to withdraw from Iraq–as their country-wide police officers. Iraq needs to step up and begin to insure its own day-to-day safety. If we back out of their daily routines, their desire to do things right will kick in. But, staying only makes resentment increase as all their problems will be attributed to the U.S. presence.
If the U.S. continues to stay, and they should for at least another few years, it should only be in a border patrol capacity. Simply keeping away negative outside influences should be the U.S.’s only duty going forward.
How likely is something like this? Not very. Each candidate seems determined in going for an extreme decision. Maybe they’re looking to create some excitement for the next few presidents to deal with.