John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Saturday, May 20, 2006
  Iraq: Why we should pull out
There is now formally "a government" in Iraq.

As with in the 1920s and 1930s the defining issue in Iraq is "the occupation". (Previously it was RAF bases).

All the political parties are opposed to the occupation. The occupation, however, gives an argument for the "insurgents" to recruit.

The UK government has no real "strategy" in Iraq that is worth the name. They say that they want to wait until the Iraqi security services can cope. However, the presence of the occupying forces makes the situation harder to handle.

They have no clear objectives by which they can measure when they should leave. Hence unless people support an unending commitment then the time to leave is now (or at least in reasonable and safe phases).

Blair's most misleading argument about Iraq was that it was Saddam Hussain or invasion. There were many other options that led to the downfall of the Ba'th without the generation of major hatred against the UK and US governments in the Middle East.

Many people fail to understand that one of the biggest motivations in any group based conflict is revenge. Iraq is but one more example of this.
 
Comments:
The occupation, however, gives an argument for the "insurgents" to recruit.

So, I take it, you're in favour of pulling out of Afghanistan as well
 
To be honest I would not have started putting further troops in. We have experienced exactly the same situations in the same places in the past.

Managing an occupation is a complex task that is generally fruitless.
 
What about Darfur where nearly half a million people have been slaughtered and 2.5m made homeless? Or do we just allow genocidal maniacs to wipe out minority groups?

I also opposed the invasion of Iraq, on the grounds that the reasons given were spurious, but to taken an entirely non-interventionist line because "Managing an occupation is a complex task that is generally fruitless" strikes me as unacceptable in a civilized world.
 
A good alternative example is that of Kosova and Bosnia where foreign troops came in to maintain order.

I do not see that myself as "an occupation".

Wikipedia's definition is:
"the periods of time following a nation's territory invasion by controlling enemy troops (see Military occupation)"
 
I agree with Bob over Darfur. I also believe we should pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan but we have to leave sort of stabilised law and order, not say 'Right, we've overthrown the Government, the country is in a state of anarchy so we're bogging off'. I would suggest you remember the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
After they pulled out, the country was in a state of civil war.
 
Lebanon was already in a state of civil war when Israel invaded. They did not fully withdraw from Southern Lebanon until 2000, and at no stage did their presence improve matters.

I tend more towards John's definition of 'occupation' than Bob's. Not every deployment of troops is a de facto occupation, unless you're relying on a very flexible definition of the word. Iraq clearly is an occupation because, despite the elections, the US forces have complete control over Iraq's defence and security apparatus.
 
Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan. Over 35,000 dead in Iraq. Yep, we in the west certainly know how to improve matters. Would you rather,Simon, everyone pulls out now without some semblance of law and order in place and leave the countries in an even worse state?
 
The real question is can we achieve anything by staying. If the answer is no we should leave.
 
Richard's point is the key. The government actually have no real plan as to when troops should leave. The presence of belligerent troops is adding to strife not subtracting from it. Only by specificing a relatively soon leaving date will that stress reduce.
 
It is not adding to the strife. Pulling out without any proper control over the Country by the new government and it's security forces would be adding to the strife.
Did you happen to watch ITN at 6.30 last night talking about the daily death toll of IRAQI people? We pull out now,what do you think will happen? All the insurgents will stop the killing and dance together with the new regime in the streets now the 'infidels' have gone? Wise up John, you'll be looking at a bloodbath of greater proportion than it is now.
 
If you consider that the troops have been present whilst the amount of strife increases what argument can you place that indicates that keeping them there will reduce the amount of strife.

The presence of the belligerent troops adds to the causes of insurgency.

It is important to understand that people seek revenge when someone in their family is hurt. This revenge is frequently sought against the occupiers. The consequence of that, however, tends to be more people seeking revenge.
 
Revenge is frequently sought against the occupiers?
So you don't watch the news or add up how many Iraqis to 1 occupying soldier are killed.
Pull out before the Iraqi security forces are ready then Allah help Iraq.
 
When are the Iraqi security forces going to be ready-in another 10 years?
 
The last time (June last year) I spoke to some people who actually live in Iraq (I realise that this might be a novel concept for some commentators), the feeling was that the western troops should not pull out. They reported that the insurgents are, mostly, not Iraqis but rather are people from neighbouring countries who have had one radical cleric too many and are there to kill as many 'Americans' (and anyone else who happens to be in the blast radius/firing line) as possible before getting their VIP ticket to paradise and 72 Houri.

They were far from uncritical of the western troops. They particularly criticised the US troops for their failure to secure the borders quickly enough (so allowing insurgents to enter easily), their insensitivity to the local culture and leadership and their habit of speeding through areas in armoured vehicles without stopping to connect with the community.

In general the people I spoke with (a mixed group of trade unionists, mostly from the north of Iraq) felt that the British troops were doing a much better job, in particular in the areas of connecting to the communities and generally not annoying anyone unecessarely.
 
If the British troops are doing such a great job, why has a state of emergency been imposed in Basra?
 
The fact is that the troops have an impossible job. It is likely that the situation will continue to get worse and worse until the belligerent troops are withdrawn.
 
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