Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Time to Start Withdrawing From Iraq

Check out my column from Friday's Bowdoin Orient. In the article, I lay out the case for gradual withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, as advocated by Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin.

Here's an excerpt:

Iraq will never be secured by a large, outside occupation force. The Pentagon itself has admitted as much. In congressional testimony, Army General George W. Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, explained that the large U.S. force is part of the problem. He is quoted in the October 1 issue of the Los Angeles Times as explaining that troop reductions were necessary to "take away one of the elements that fuels the insurgency, that of the coalition forces as an occupying force."

The Iraqi people resent our presence. It will be up to the Iraqis themselves to secure their own country. Iraqi police forces have made a great deal of progress in the last few years, but more needs to be done to train them properly and turn over areas of the country to them. In addition, the administration should propose that a multilateral conference be held, inviting members of the Arab League, UN, and NATO. If countries in the Middle East are never brought to the table, there will never be peace.

It will be far harder for jihadists to get public support when coalition troops are not present in large numbers. The insurgency is largely fueled by hatred of the American presence, so a withdrawal would make it harder for Al-Qaeda and other groups to recruit members and get the support of moderates in the Arab world.

Read the whole column.