Q&A Friday #4: What Would Happen If We Pulled Out Of Iraq?
Q: “Do you believe there is a danger Iran will invade Iraq if Kerry scales back US involvement in Iraq to minimal levels and actually succeeds in stocking the country with troops from our political opposers in the UN? Do you believe French and German troops, if present, would pull out in such a circumstance? And what about other countries who couldn’t stand alone against those threats? What do you believe the implications of such a conflict would be?” — The_Big_Fat_Lobster
A: In 6-18 months, when the Iraqis are ready to handle to handle their own internal security, they still won’t be able to defend themselves from their neighboring countries. Because of that, we’ll probably need to keep a few thousand troops in country for at least a few years just to make sure nobody gets any funny ideas. Were Kerry to scale back or remove US troops too quickly, before Iraq was capable of defending itself, it’s quite possible that Iran, Syria, Turkey, or even all three nations might try to take a bite out of Iraq.
Would the French, Germans, and everybody else for that matter, leave if we pulled most of our troops out or left? In a word, yes. If the world’s only super power can’t hack it, then no one should expect any of the lesser powers to hang in there.
As far as the implications go, they’d all be bad. It would be viewed as a big defeat for the United States, a huge victory for the terrorists and the dictators in the region, the war on terrorism would essentially be over, the Iraqi people would be murdered and brutalized by their new masters, and Democracy in the region would probably be set back 20 years.
In short, it would be a bigger disaster than Vietnam.
On the other hand, I think a free, prosperous, Democratic Iraq is the key to bringing Democracy to the entire region. This is a big risks, big rewards venture, and under no circumstances should we consider pulling out before the job, which has been messily, yet surely progressing, is done.