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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