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Iraq 2006 = Afghanistan 1989?

So the Bush administration is starting to talk about pulling out of Iraq. This isn’t committing to any time table, which is something they have beaten every democrat who has dared to ask that question. No, this is based on some analysis that by the next elections in Iraq (which coincidentally are about the same time as our elections), the Iraqi forces will be able to police more of the country, so our troops won’t be needed. We’ll be able start bringing our forces home.

After we’ve declared “Mission Accomplished” a couple of times now, we’ll finally start to pull our forces back. This is great news for the GOP since the complete mishandling of the war will be ignored by images of our brave soldiers coming home. The Democrats won’t be able to complain about the war since our troops are coming back. So it looks like a win-win scenario.

Except if you’re an Iraqi. Let’s see, even the most optimistic information says that the Iraqi police and military are not nearly ready to take over and provide the security and stability that a new democracy will need. Without the help of some outside forces, they will not be able to stop the insurgency. Now add in the fact that there are reports of militants infiltrating the police and the military and you’ve got a grade “A” recipe for disaster.

After invading Afghanistan, the USSR fought a ten year war against the insurgents. This fight drew every hard core Muslim to the country to help fight the invaders. The US provided support to the various rebel groups fighting the Russians since this was the cold war. After 10 years and 15,000 dead soldiers, the Russian’s finally declared success and left. Their puppet regime lasted a couple of years before the country imploded and then became the breeding ground for the Taliban and Al Queada.

Will Iraq turn into the next Afghanistan? Without long term military, economic, and political support from the US, I think the chances of Iraqi democracy taking root and flourishing are slim at best. The insurgents, the Sunni-Shiite-Kurd issues, and not to mention the rampant corruption are all obstacles to a safe, secure, democratic Iraq. And that’s if it’s left alone. There’s no doubt that Iran is already pulling some strings in Iraq and with the US gone, they will probably become more active in Iraq. A destabilized Iraq, influenced/controlled by Iran, is not a good thing. With every psycho Islamic jihadist going through the advanced course that is Iraq these days, once the US leaves and the Iraqi government crumbles, where does a hard working jihadist go to achieve his martyrdom? What about Saudi Arabia? The close ties between the US and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will make it a natural target for the jihadists. And can you imagine how the world economy will react to that?

Yes this is all speculation and more than a bit negative. But we got into Iraq and pulling troops out by a specific deadline is just stupid. We don’t have the troops on the ground as it is to secure the stability of the country and allow for the reconstruction. We need to be putting more troops in, not taking them out. Yes an Exit Strategy needs to be devised. But let’s make that something hard and concrete and something that isn’t a shell game. X number of trained and equipped police units. Y number of trained and equipment military units. Z number of elections. You need to identify good, hard, measurable metrics for success. And lying about the metrics isn’t going to help anyone. Not the US or the Iraqi people.