Iraqi President Jalal Talabani asked for a long-term US military presence in Iraq to deter “foreign interference”.
“I think we will be in need of American forces for a long time — even two military bases to prevent foreign interference,” Talabani told The Washington Post.
“I don’t ask to have 100,000 American soldiers — 10,000 soldiers and two air bases would be enough.”
He would like to have such a permanent / long-term base in Kurdistan, but he believes that Iraq’s Sunnis would also welcome such a base.
“In some places Sunnis want the Americans to stay,” he argued. “Sunnis think the main danger is coming from Iran now.”
This is clearly a refudiation of every democrat talking point on Iraq over the last year. Iraqis are not asking America to leave or redeploy. They are asking for our help to keep their fledgling democracy afloat. The cut-and-run crowd has just been handed a huge foreign policy blow. We need Arab-Muslim support in our war against Al Qaeda and terrorism, and now we have a formal, public request from a country that used to be a sworn enemy of America to be an ally and help them out. Now when a liberal democrat cries “runaway” (in an echo of Monty Python’s Holy Grail) the country can respond “what about what the Iraqis want from us?”.
It is worded a little bit political incorrect and quite harsh, but the main point stands: Iraq has now asked the U.S. to not withdraw troops from it completely. And not just regarding the coming months, but regarding the coming years.
The U.S. cannot simply ignore this request, for obvious reasons. This means that the Democrats’ plan regarding Iraq, must include a long-term presence for a limited U.S. military force.
The ‘the Iraqis don’t want us there’ argument has proven incorrect.
It creates another larger problem for those opposing the war/the continuous presence of U.S. troops in Iraq as well: if 4000 troops remain, it means that Iraq has to be made less chaotic -> as to secure the safety of those troops/to reduce the threats facing them/increase their impact. This, of course, means that there is but one choice left: commit to solving the problems in Iraq. This creates both a different situation for the Republicans, but especially for the Democrats. Withdraw troops within one year’s time, is, quite simply, not an option any longer.
Regarding the Republicans: ‘staying the course’ will not be enough either, since that will not solve the problems either.
“I believe that Secretary Rumsfeld and others in the administration did not tell the American people the truth for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq,” retired Maj. Gen. John R. S. Batiste said in remarks prepared for a forum conducted by Senate Democrats.
A second military leader, retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, assessed Rumsfeld as “incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically ….”
“Mr. Rumsfeld and his immediate team must be replaced or we will see two more years of extraordinarily bad decision-making,” he added in a statement prepared for the policy forum, held six weeks before the Nov. 7 midterm elections in which the war is a central issue.
It is unusual for retired military officers to criticize the Pentagon while military operations are under way, particularly at a public event likely to draw widespread media attention.
But Batiste, Eaton and retired Col. Paul X. Hammes were unsparing in remarks that suggested deep anger at the way the military had been treated. All three served in Iraq, and Batiste also was senior military assistant to then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.
Batiste, who commanded the Army’s 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, also blamed Congress for failing to ask “the tough questions.”
He said Rumsfeld at one point threatened to fire the next person who mentioned the need for a postwar plan in Iraq.
Whether one agrees about whether or not Rumsfeld ‘blew it’, so to speak, one thing is extremely clear to me: if the White House wants to regain credibility and want the country to support the war in Iraq (again), Rumselfd will have to resign.
And yes, I agree that big mistakes were made (troop levels, post-war plan for instance) and that Rumsfeld should be held accountable since he is, you know, responsible.
Personal: thanks to all of you for you kind words and prayers regarding the situation / health of my grandmother.
It deeply touches me.