Gen. (Ret) Odom "Get out of Iraq"

What’s wrong with cutting and running?
ASK THIS | August 03, 2005
Everything that opponents of a pullout say would happen if the U.S. left Iraq is happening already, says retired Gen. William E. Odom, the head of the National Security Agency during the Reagan administration. So why stay?

By William E. Odom

If I were a journalist, I would list all the arguments that you hear against pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, the horrible things that people say would happen, and then ask: Aren’t they happening already? Would a pullout really make things worse? Maybe it would make things better.

Here are some of the arguments against pulling out:

1) We would leave behind a civil war.

2) We would lose credibility on the world stage.

3) It would embolden the insurgency and cripple the move toward democracy.

4) Iraq would become a haven for terrorists.

5) Iranian influence in Iraq would increase.

6) Unrest might spread in the region and/or draw in Iraq's neighbors.

7) Shiite-Sunni clashes would worsen.

8) We haven’t fully trained the Iraqi military and police forces yet.

9) Talk of deadlines would undercut the morale of our troops.

But consider this:

1) On civil war. Iraqis are already fighting Iraqis. Insurgents have killed far more Iraqis than Americans. That’s civil war. We created the civil war when we invaded; we can’t prevent a civil war by staying.
Article continues here

Follow up here

As I have watched the reactions to my earlier piece on, "What’s wrong with cutting and running?”, I recognize that one critical point does not come through to many readers. The problem may stem from the words "cut and run" in the title. In the minds of some, that seems to imply leaving the region for good. My argument is fundamentally different.

I believe that stabilizing the region from the Eastern Mediterranean to Afghanistan is very much an American interest, one we share with all our allies as well as with several other countries, especially, China, Russia, and India.

The ‘Global Balkans’

Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has called this region the "global Balkans," a name that recalls the role of the European Balkans during two or three decades leading up to the outbreak of World War I. By themselves the Balkan countries were not all that important. Yet several great powers, especially Russia and Austria, were jockeying for strategic advantages there as they anticipated the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and competition for control of the straits leading from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean. Britain and France wanted neither Russia nor Austria to dominate; and Germany, although uninterested in the Balkans, was allied to Austria. From a strategic viewpoint, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 was unimportant, but it set in motion actions that soon brought all of the major powers in Europe to war. Four empires collapsed, and the doors were opened to the Communists in Russia and the Nazis in Germany as a result. Brzezinski's point today is that the Middle East and Southwest Asia have precisely that kind of potential for catalyzing wars among the major powers of the world today, although nothing in the region objectively merits such wars.
Surprised this hasn't been commented on. Both pieces are rather well written , albeit controversial. Comments?