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Scott Galindez: Why We Must Withdraw From Iraq

Why We Must Withdraw From Iraq


By Scott Galindez
13 March 2005
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
From: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/031305A.shtml

As long as U.S. troops remain in Iraq, the perception of the resistance will be that the Government in Iraq is a puppet of the United States. Our presence in Iraq is destabilizing, and I would like to pose this question: how much worse could things get if the United States pulled out of Iraq?

What is needed is a regional multinational solution, not one led by the United States or the UN. My friend and colleague William Rivers Pitt has asked for a plan for withdrawal that wouldn't lead to more chaos. Before I answer that question I raise a different question, and that is: how do we know that withdrawal will not be the first step to a peace process with a majority of the resistance in Iraq?

Will is correct that George Bush is not going to order a withdrawal tomorrow, that is reality; but it doesn't mean that we are wrong to demand just that. We will likely not succeed in such a demand, but it doesn't mean that it isn't the morally correct position to take. I believe that people respect you when stand for what you believe in and don't bend to political pressure.

Now for the plan: the new Iraqi Prime Minister should request a date-specific withdrawal of U.S. troops, while negotiating with Muslim nations for a multinational peacekeeping force to replace U.S. troops on the ground, with the sole purpose of training Iraqi Security forces. Western involvement would not help this process; a regional solution would be perceived as better by many of the resistance forces in Iraq. Of course, the more radical elements would continue to attempt to disrupt the process, but that is happening now so what do we have to lose?

If the fighters loyal to Saddam saw, for example, Jordanian troops training a new security force, they might be more willing to lay down their arms and come to the bargaining table. As long as U.S. forces are there, they will continue to fight.

Of course, the ethnic tensions create more complicated problems. The Kurds will need security guarantees, but they already have stronger militias than the Iraqi government and the resistance, so that shouldn't pose a major problem. The Shiites in the south have nothing to fear - they now are involved in forming a new government and will be a part of the ruling majority. The trouble is in central Iraq, and the Occupation is just adding fuel to the fire.

To the forces loyal to Saddam, the United States is the enemy. The United States invaded their country and continues to occupy it. While they are not pleased that the Shia majority is forming a government, the Shiites didn't bomb them, the Shiites didn't invade their country. There would be a much greater chance that they would lay down their arms and re-join Iraqi society if the United States were gone.

Will Pitt is correct, George Bush is not likely to agree to this plan, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be pushing for it. I for one am not ready to advocate a smarter occupation, one with fewer mistakes. The biggest mistake is occupying Iraq at all. The only way to correct that is to end the occupation.

*************

Scott Galindez is the Managing Editor of truthout.org.

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