Iraq u s interests best served by a quick exit
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Iraq: U.S. interests best served by a quick exit. Charles V. Pe ñ a Director of Defense Policy Studies Cato Institute, Washington, DC May 2, 2003. According to President Bush.

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Iraq u s interests best served by a quick exit

Iraq: U.S. interests best served by a quick exit

Charles V. Peña

Director of Defense Policy Studies

Cato Institute, Washington, DC

May 2, 2003


According to president bush

According to President Bush

  • The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq's new government. That choice belongs to the Iraqi people.

  • Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment.

  • We will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more.

    Speech at the American Enterprise Institute

    February 26, 2003


According to secretary of defense rumsfeld

According to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld

  • How would we feel about an Iranian-type government with a few clerics running everything in the country, the answer is: That isn't going to happen.

    AP wire story, April 25, 2003

  • Iraq belongs to you [the Iraqi people]. The coalition has no intention of owning or running Iraq.

    AP wire story, April 30, 2003


According to jay garner

According to Jay Garner

  • We won’t quit until we know they’re on the right road.

  • To get them comfortable with self-government I don’t think will take long.

  • All we care about is them establishing a democratic process that creates a government that expresses the freely elected will of the people.

  • What kind of government, what kind of process – that’s up to them.

    Washington Post, April 20, 2003


According to iraqi protestors

According to Iraqi protestors

  • No to America. No to Saddam. Our revolution is Islamic.

  • No Sunni. No Shiite. Only One Islamic Nation.

  • No Bush. No Saddam. Yes, yes to Islam.

  • No to imperialism. No to Israel. No to America. No to Saddam.

  • Leave our country. We want peace. America is God’s enemy.

  • We thank the Americans for getting rid of Saddam’s regime, but now Iraq must be run by Iraqis.


Iraqi protestors cont

Iraqi protestors (cont.)

  • We will not accept a government that oppresses us. There must be an elected government.

  • We cannot be part of a process which is under an American general.

  • The American presence is unacceptable and there’s no justification for it staying in Iraq.

  • You are masters today. But I warn you against thinking of staying. Get out before we force you out.


U s rhetoric is a jumble of contradictions

U.S. rhetoric is a jumble of contradictions

  • One thing is certain: we will not impose a government in Iraq.

    President Bush

    Remarks at Lima Army Tank Plant, Lima. OH

    April 24, 2003

  • The coalition alone retains absolute authority within Iraq.

    Lt. Gen David McKiernan

    “U.S. Warns Iraqis Against Claiming Authority in Void,” New York Times, April 24, 2003


Two options

Two options

  • First option is president’s vision of sustained commitment

    • Constitutional democracy

    • Civil society

    • Free market economy

  • Cost could be substantial

    • Estimates range from $75 billion to $500 billion

    • Likely to borne by U.S. taxpayers

  • Implies a prolonged U.S. military commitment likely to be viewed as an occupation


Options cont

Options (cont.)

  • Second option is to hand the government back to the Iraqi people as quickly as possible, followed immediately by U.S. military withdrawal

    • Administration rhetoric suggests this is the general approach being taken

  • But the result could be an Islamic state or Iran trying to exert influence

    • Administration has declared this as unacceptable

      U.S. seems to want to do both options,

      despite inherent contradictions


A third option

A third option

  • Transition government back to the Iraqi people as soon as possible

  • Followed by U.S. military withdrawal

  • Leave democratization, policing and internal security, and nation building to a coalition of the willing

    • Other countries (or possibly the UN) assume the costs and risks

    • Reduces likelihood that U.S. becomes a convenient target

    • Might be the least bad of not very good options


U s interests best served by a quick exit

U.S. interests best served by a quick exit

  • IF Iraq was a threat, that threat has now been eliminated

  • Having invaded Iraq, the U.S. may have little choice but to help rebuild it

  • But that does not mean an Iraqi New Deal

  • U.S. needs to set modest goals and a firm departure date

    • NOT a “made in America” democracy

    • Remember the legacy of the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia


Quick exit cont

Quick exit (cont.)

  • Primary objective should be to hand the government back to the Iraqis in the shortest possible time

  • Withdraw U.S. troops at earliest possible opportunity

  • Let Iraqis determine their own government

  • NOT a U.S. hand-picked or approved government

    • Avoid favoritism to Iraqi exiles

      United States must be willing to live with a less than perfect outcome.

      But in deposing Saddam, be careful what you wish for.


Events that do not portend well

Events that do not portend well

  • “U.S.: At Least 7 Iraqis Killed in Mosul Protest,” Reuters, April 16, 2003

    • U.S. troops killed at least seven Iraqis in Mosul when a demonstration against their presence in the northern city turned violent on Tuesday.

    • A prominent Kurdish-backed leader in the city accused U.S. forces of stoking tensions by raising the Stars and Stripes over the [government] building [occupied by U.S. forces].


Events cont

Events (cont.)

  • “U.S. Forces Return Fire at Iraq Protest,” AP, April 29, 2003

    • U.S. soldiers opened fire on Iraqis at a demonstration after being shot at with automatic rifles by some in the crowd.

    • The director of the local hospital said 13 people were killed and 75 injured.

    • The demonstrators reportedly were protesting U.S. troops' presence in Fallujah. But some townspeople said the protest was held by students aged 5 to 20 to ask the soldiers to leave the school they were staying at so classes, scheduled to resume Tuesday, could take place.


Events cont1

Events (cont.)

  • “U.S. Troops Fire on Iraq Protestors Again,” AP, April 30, 2003

    • For the second time this week, U.S. soldiers fired on anti-American protesters Wednesday in the city of Fallujah.

    • The mayor said two people were killed and 14 wounded.

    • The shooting in Fallujah, 30 miles west of Baghdad, occurred less than 48 hours after gunfire during a demonstration Monday night that hospital officials said killed 13 Iraqis.


Downside risks to lingering in iraq

Downside risks to lingering in Iraq

  • U.S. nation building track record is spotty, at best

    • Post-war Germany and Japan not comparable to Iraq

    • Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo more likely examples

  • Nation building in Afghanistan still uncertain outcome

  • Lebanon in the 1980s

    • If the U.S. takes sides in an internal power struggle, the likely result is that U.S. forces will become a target for guerilla war and terrorism


Risks cont

Risks (cont.)

  • Soviet Union in Afghanistan

    • If U.S. is viewed as an occupying power, Arabs and Muslims throughout the region might flock to Iraq to expel the American infidel


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