Iraq - Stay or Go - Debate.

Iraq - stay or go?

  • Stay until the job's done.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Stay in the medium term but prepare to leave.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Leave as soon as possible - NLT 6 months

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Leave now!

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
In March last year 92007) I did module C of the MA course. We had a debate on: "Iraq stay or go?" I would like to have that debate again.

No doubt this has been covered before on Arrse, but I could not find it.

Might be vain hope but can I ask debater to avoid the issues of whether or not it was right to invade Iraq on 2003 and whether the initial post invasion phase could have been done better and concentrate on the issue of whether we should leave now or in the near future.

By we, I mean the Coalition. There is an argument that "it's a situation of the US's making and the UK should leave them to it". On a strictly numbers basis I don't suppose it would make much difference to them.

I doubt if anyone is happy with the situation in Iraq at the moment apart from those who see it as an excuse to foment trouble for their own ends and their fellow travellers in the west who can spend their time revelling in the delights of I told you so. I think we will all agree that it was not the outcome we would want.

As I see it the 'stay or go argument' is are we doing more good or harm by staying? What would be the outcome of us leaving? Would it be better or worse? Should we care?

I think we should care as human beings in general and there is an argument that we have caused the mess and we should sort it out if we can. But can we?

I am thinking mainly of the outcome in Iraq but there are also Geo-political questions. Much as many people revel in the humiliation that the US suffered in Vietnam it was not a good thing for the free world, or indeed for the many victims of oppression around the world including those in Vietnam.

In March 07 I was a 'stayer' a year on I'm becoming undecided so I shake my head in the tree of knowledge that is ARRSE:

Iraq - stay or go?
out now.
no more casualties in iraq for F all purpose other that tony 'tosser' bliar's legacy.
The whole thing was a cake and arse created by twat Blair, let them kill each other all they want and get our boys and girls out of there
GO NOWWWWW!!!!!!!!
sittin around at Basra airbase is futile an if the indigies want to kill each other then hey let them have all the virgins they want.
Seems the only job remaining to be done is to secure the profits of certain corporations linked to prominent US politicians.
Not worth a further life of a British service (wo)man.
Not worth the money the taxpayer is funding
Not worth the resources the Uk is frittering away on the place

Can't see anything to be gained by staying (or from going there in the 1st place tbh)
Totally agree, bin it.

SPAMS seem to think it will be another state and a perfect jumping off point to another place. Leave it now, I fail to see how it is viable for us to be there anymore.

I by no means am downgrading our fallen or wounded in the above statement.
I'd say stay - backing out would be seen to show a weakness handing a propaganda coup to the baddies, and while any casualty is a bad thing - the rate has reduced significantly since we walled ourselves in.
I don't necessarily agree we were right to go to war but having picked a fight its bad form to back down what?
Who DID pick the fight?

It would seem to me great sense to get the hell out, firstly you remove our troops from harms way and cut the bill we are paying for rent!

IF GW decides to go EAST into Iran, we will not be dragged kicking a screaming as point into another middle east hell hole.

And it will help to relieve those who need a break in Afghanistan, or knowing this B lot build up troop numbers for the Spring Offensive starting on the 21 March 2008.
Something I was taught recently: Iraq is the classic center of culture for the Middle East - where it goes others have followed. AQ is certainly more interested in it than a lot of places. It is key to ME stability. In comparison, Afghanistan is a hole. Yet we've gone for the somewhat crazy aspect of focussing resources on Afghan. Out of Afghan, into Iraq and fix it...

Of course our very presence in Iraq may actually be fueling the conflict, and it may sort itself out better without us. However at least at the moment we can choose whichever thugs we want to help get to power... Rather than Iranian chosen thugs.

How does that sound for a plan?
Go, the place isn't worth another British serviceman/womans life.

IMO it was a middle east craphole run by a craphead before the invasion, it's a craphole now run by a craphead and whatever happens it will be a craphole in the future still run by a craphead.
CharlieBubbles said:
Who DID pick the fight?
Well if we didn't pick the fight we definitely picked a side.

Why not spend the money required to build the forces we need and deserve then not have to chose between Iraq and Afghanistan?


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer

The numbers are for going, but are only backing up their position with ranting. The reasoned argument are for staying.

There is something uncomfortable about the 'nothing to do with us, let them kill themselves if they want to' line.

Firstly, arguably, we precipitated the current crisis by invading and ballsing up the initial phase of occupation, therefore it does have something to do with us. Secondly, if it was one two armies or (militias) fighting it out amongst themselves then perhaps fair enough let them get on with it. But it isn't it's one set of bully boys killing innocent civilians, and another set killing another lot of innocent civilians. All in pursuit of their own narrow and perverted aims.

It's worth remembering that the vast majority of Iraqis want what we want, stable civil society, rule of law, democracy. (That's not to say they would vote for the kind of people we would vote for but like us they want the option of getting rid of them if they want to) The question is can we deliver? And is the price of delivering worth it?


Book Reviewer
What, if anything are we doing, sitting in a base outside Basrah?
BA, perhaps the people who should be answering this for you are the "vast majority of Iraqis", not us. It is, after all, their country and if we claim to be offering them democracy then (first and foremost) that should include their right to democratically ask us to leave.

But therein lies a problem. How do you canvass the democratic wish of a people who have never had, and still don't have, democrasy? It took our culture many centuries to develop a form of democracy that works for us and expecting to be able to impose that form on an entirely different culture in a matter of months or even years is either naive or arrogant in the extreme (depending on your POV).

Even assuming that the West's motives are entirely pure, it's also fundamentally un-democratic because it requires us to impose what we see as best on someone else, regardless of their wishes. Because of that, we can never "bring democracy" to Iraq, no matter how long we stay.

What we can do is leave, as soon as practical, and hope that, in the long term, our brief presence there has awakened a desire in the Iraqi people to find whatever form of Government they feel is best for them. Whatever that is.

Leave, no more than 6 months.
The question is can we deliver?
We will never be able to deliver in a country where the majority of the population are poorly educated.

1. Fantasy and Religion are a lot easier to sell than Logic and Reason to the majority of the population.

2. We are trying to enforce a form of government to the country that is not supported by its form of society.

3. There are muppets making political decisions to further their own careers that will never relate to the situation on the ground.

4. The most popular religion in USA seems to be Creationism (almost as fundamentalist as Al Qaeda :D )

5. The press destroys complete OPSEC at every opportunity and reduces our freedom to act for fear of being accused of brutality. We're F***ing soldiers!!!!

6. George Bush

7. Gordon Brown



Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
K Soze. Points 1 to 3 valid. Point 4, I'm not sure if that's true, it's not been my experience in visiting the states. And even if it is why is it relevant? Point 5, true they don't help, but what would you want to do that would be secret? I'm not aware of the press giving away tactical secrets. Point 6 and 7 ??

SpunkyMonkey. The Iraqi people have clearly demonstrated their desire for democracy and self-determination when they voted sometimes at great risk and difficulties.

I don't know what the current Polls are suggesting but in Mar last year there was a majority of Iraqis who wanted the coalition to stay, mostly because they feared what would happen if it left. Of those who wanted the coalition to leave it might be sensible to discount some their views because their reasoning was either that the crisis is caused by the presence of the coalition - if it leaves everything will be hunky dory, or because they see the coalition as the thing that is stopping them from imposing their brand of Government on the rest, whether they want it or not. I would discount the former view because I don't think things will be hunky dory when 'we' leave and I would ignore the latter view because, well I don't really need to explain do I.

As for the argument that Iraqi society is not ready for democracy, whilst there are certainly issues in those societies these are the same arguments that were used for denying votes to the working class and women in this country before (near) universal suffrage.

I'm also wary of the 'imposing democracy' charge. Partly because it assumes that other forms of government are legitimate or valid and partly because it assumes a choice being made by the majority. The only legitimate form of government is one chosen by the governed ie a democratic government and we should not be afraid to say so. Any government that is not prepared to go to the electorate from time to time is not legitimate.

It is worth noting that in Iran the current Government would lose a popular vote, and it knows it, even though if ‘we’ invaded we would probably have a fight on our hands, and there would probably be an insurgency afterwards.

We are not trying to impose democracy on the majority – they want it, we are trying to impose democracy on a violent minority who don’t want it because they believe that they will be in the ascendancy without it and know full well that they could not win a popular vote.

Biped, “What, if anything are we doing, sitting in a base outside Basra?” Might be seen as the start of an argument that we should be having a US type ‘surge’ and getting stuck in.

In my earlier post I said that those making a rational argument where in favour of staying. I would also say that the moral argument, as I see it, is in favour of staying but the practical argument is that we cannot win. Or even do any good, sooner or later we will have to leave, defeated. So we might as well go now rather than continue to take casualties. It’s the counsel of despair but it’s persuasive argument if it’s true.

Perhaps it's cynical of me, but a "vote for democracy" by people who (a) are absolutely conditioned to do as they're told and (b) are being told that they want democracy by the leaders of all those well-armed soldiers on their streets doesn't exactly fill me with confidence.

Even putting that aside, a change to "our" form of democracy would need fundamental changes in their religious and social structure - exactly the sort of "interference" that the west is accused of by the other guys. We have no more right to impose democracy on another Sovereign Nation than the Crusaders had to impose Christianity on them.

Assuming that other forms of government are illegitimate or invalid is just as bad, if not worse, than assuming that they're valid. Just because they don't fit with our world view of what's "best" doesn't mean they're inherently wrong - only wrong "for us". Benign autocrasies and monarchies have a lot to recommend them, but the (usually fatal) flaw of rarely staying benign. Democracy also has some pretty serious flaws - see the current state of Whitehall.

And don't say "at least the people have a choice". Even our beloved ARRSE isfull of comments suggesting that certain people aren't competent to be given that choice. Give everyone a vote, and they'll ultimately vote (if they bother) for who they think they like or who they think will be best for them personally, without regard for what's best for the rest of the country, or even their neighbour.

We accept that as the best available system but perhaps others would genuinely rather live under a bad-ass dictator who'll torture you if you step out of line. As long as he draws the lines clearly, so you know where not to step, and makes sure the country runs in a way that gives you enough food and water, who's to say that's a "bad" system?

Only the Iraqi people can decide what's best for them. If, in practice, they decide they don't want democracy then that is their choice and we have no right whatsoever to say that their choice is "invalid" or "illegitimate". Saying "but they voted" is immediately skewing the results because voting is an inherently democratic process so it's almost guaranteed to lead to a pro-democracy result.

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