Originally Posted by mcbear
To most of the World, we have already lost. How, because there is no "WIN". Any, and I mean ANY solution at this point-and any point in the past 18 months is a degree of loss.
Look at every option. We were set up for failure with the Mission Accomplished banner. It said we won and then more and more people died, Iraq went into total disarray and a Civil War broke out.
That sequence defined the loss.
Gaining Democrazy in Iraq got us a majority with al-Sadr as majority leader. We are now ARMING Sunnis [who we have been fighting up until last week] in the hopes that they will now fight Al Qaeda instead of Shiite and US. Civilian deaths are at record highs. Coalition deaths are at record highs.
If we pull out now it is a loss.
If we pull out in one year after the Iraqis have stabilized a bit more we gain nothing, it is still a loss based on the past 5 years.
If we keep a force in [ala Korea] that is a loss based on the original four or five plans of a short war [slam dunk to stay the course]
Under what terms would we define victory for the US Military? It does not exist.
I believe when our government decided to look beyond Al-Qaeda after 9-11-2001 and coined the term "war on terror" we were doomed. We had near universal, global support for hunting down Ossamma and his henchmen. We had zero support for converting any, at least relatively speaking, innocent country into a "war on terror" battleground under the guise of finding WMD, or foisting democracy on an unwilling recipient. Because it was all a lie and the rest of world saw that clearly.
I am for leaving Iraq as soon as we can muster the equipment to airlift the men and any useful equipment out. Our National Guard is crippled with a lack of equipment, so I would make every effort to collect what was functional and destroy what is not.
The argument about how bad it will be if we leave, well, that is a temporary situation. Someone will "win" and control Iraq, and along the way will stamp out the street violence and sectarian killing we see today. The civil war will end. A finite number of random, likely innocent people will die, as well as Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds engaged in the civil war.
Any scenario where we stay just prolongs the present melee of murder and chaos. We cannot fix this problem and our presence merely prolongs the fighting. Under any strategy where we hang in there, the number of deaths has no finite limit. And, in all likelihood the finite number that will die in the civil war and its aftermath will stay the same. We offer no benefit or hope to the Iraqi people. They see that and want us out, regardless of our intentions. They have to deal with the reality of what our intentions have wrought and will in the future.
As for losing face, a complete and earnest denunciation of the policy that brought us to this point, the neocon concept of preemtive strikes, will go a long way to reestablishing our credibility. We have no "face" left to lose. We are in a desperate situation internationally - we have expended two centuries of hard earned respect and good will on Iraq. Hopefully we can earn a good bit of it back in less than another two hundred years. But I can think of no better start than admitting we have made a huge mistake, got in too deep and lost our way.
America is still the greatest experimental concept of a nation that has ever come to be on the face of the earth. The experiment is not over, it has merely been set up to face another challenge. We will be judged more on how we face this challenge than whether or not we craft a slicker excuse for leaving that brings about another month or year or decade of meaningless deaths. Jim