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.”

AJ Strata (in a quite, umh, confrontational post) points out the following:

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.

Related:

Retired officers criticize Rumsfeld:

“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.

Michael van der Galien
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les
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les
10 years 12 hours ago

It strikes me that 10,000 troops on a couple of bases is a lot closer to Murths’s, and other Democrats’, positions than it is to “stay the course.” Substitute “base in country” for “over the horizon,” and it is Murtha’s suggestion. Given that it appears incredibly unlikely that the current course will change the status in Iraq (and is likely not sustainable even at this level), what do you propose other than an announced and implemented draw down of troops?

jjc
Guest
jjc
10 years 11 hours ago

I agree with les.

AJ Strata has issued a fairly typical right wing response, distorting the Murtha position so that he can successfully argue with it. You know, the old “anything that doesn’t agree with the Bush position is “cut-and-run cut-and-run cut-and-run cut-and-run cut-and-run cut-and-run.”

A fair argument is where you accurately state the opponent’s position, which you would think isn’t that hard to do. But since right-wingers so consistently refuse to do this, you have to figure they consider fair arguments to be bad politics for them.

Kim Ritter
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Kim Ritter
10 years 10 hours ago
I don’t think Iraqis are jumping for joy that we’ve destroyed their infrastructure, allowed their ageless, priceless, antiquities to be looted, and killed at least 50,000 of their countrymen. Look at it from their perspective: In the 80’s we supported Saddam in the war against Iran-even dealing with them on weapons trades. In the 90’s,when he invaded Kuwait we drove him out and incited the Shiites and Kurds to revolt against him. We never supplied any military back-up, however, and allowed Iraqi helicpters to fly in the no-fly-zone as a gesture of goodwill. As a result at least 20,000 were… Read more »
denisedh
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denisedh
10 years 10 hours ago
Talibani wants the US to stay. The question is, do the people of Iraq want that also? They appear to be quite divided in general (Sunni vs. Shia, for example). In addition, Talibani’s wishes may backfire on him if the people start to view him as a leader kept in place by the US military rather than their democratic process. The greatest advantage I see in keeping the US there, from the Iraqi perspective, is to try to keep the Sunni and Shia from killing each other, although that seems a difficult task with 100,000 plus troops in the country.
Kim Ritter
Guest
Kim Ritter
10 years 9 hours ago

I think the Kurds want us to stay. The government wants us to stay, because they are still in their infancy, and are unable to control their own security or provide basic services yet. Also, if we leave, they may not get money and manpower for reconstruction.

Eric
Guest
Eric
10 years 9 hours ago

Kim
Here’s an idea, phrase your agument without BS propaganda and people other than those that are already on your side, and thus willing to overlook your errors, may listen. USSR and France were the big military suppliers and your other half truths and distortions make me so pissed off I couldn’t even say what the hell the point you were trying to make was.

Mikkel
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Mikkel
10 years 8 hours ago
Talabani is Kurdish. The Kurds very clearly and vocally want independence but there would be problems from Turkey/Iran. A US base or two in Kurdistan would solve that problem right quick (I mean, why exactly would 10,000 soldiers in Kurdistan hours away from any violent region help the Iraq situation?) and allow them to split if Iraq fell into full civil war. Now personally I have to say that I think the Kurds have done an excellent job (mostly) of creating the exact sort of state we want in the region and we should help them protect it. I know… Read more »
dawnsblood
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dawnsblood
10 years 8 hours ago

I think Mikkel is closest to the truth

BrianOfAtlanta
Guest
BrianOfAtlanta
10 years 7 hours ago
I mostly agree with Mikkel as well, and won’t rehash his points. Rather, I’ll comment on the irony of the following statement: “I think we will be in need of American forces for a long time — even two military bases to prevent foreign interference,” Reminds me of the Afghans, who consider the Taliban to be the foreigners. We’re recognized as the anti-imperialists. Oh, and top generals dissing Rumsfeld? That’s a dog bites man story if I ever heard one. The generals hate Rumsfeld for keeping them on short leashes. Prior to Iraq, that was just the kind of tough… Read more »
Kim Ritter
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Kim Ritter
10 years 6 hours ago

Eric- Feel free to ignore my comments, and save me your abusive feedback.

Eric
Guest
Eric
10 years 6 hours ago

Kim,
Here’s an idea. If you don’t wish people to respond then don’t post. My comments were directed entirely at your post and and not at all towards you personaly. The fact is your post had so little to do with the topic and so much to do with reheating old BS propaganda that I feel entirerly justified in my responce.

Kim Ritter
Guest
Kim Ritter
10 years 6 hours ago

Eric- You may feel that way- but I thought your response was unnecessarily rude. Plus you have added nothing to this discussion with your own comments. I don’t mind if people disagree with me-they do all the time and its fine- but I am making a civil request that if you can’t disagree with me in a civil way, please do not respond at all. Thanks!

Mark Adams
Guest
10 years 5 hours ago
Okay, square this circle. Reliable surveys show that the percentage of Iraqis favoring a withdrawal timeline has risen from thirty percent in February 2004 to 76 percent in February 2005 to 87 percent earlier this year. [NYT, Mar. 19, 2006] of 70 to 82 percent, Moreover, 47 percent of all Iraqis, including 88 percent of Sunnis and 41 percent of Shiites, approved attacks on American forces in a January 2006 survey. [Knight Ridder, Jan. 30, 06, posted on http://www.worldpublicopinon.org Only the pro-Western Kurdish minority want the US troops to stay. Perhaps in response to this overwhelming popular sentiment, large numbers… Read more »
Eric
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Eric
10 years 4 hours ago

Well Kim I don’t think it was to harsh or rude and complain all you want about my not adding to the discusion, but since your comment was totaly off topic your opinion less than important to me.

Elrod
Guest
Elrod
10 years 4 hours ago
Mark Adams is right. And so is Mikkel. The Kurds want us to stay. But nobody else does. The Sunnis still hate us for toppling Saddam and putting the Shi’ites in power. They believe that without the US, they could take over the government. Instead of begging for US help against Shi’ite death squads, they’ve taken revenge into their own hands. And the Shi’ite are increasingly annoyed with us as our Sunni Muslim Ambassador Khalilzad (yes, the Shi’ites do pay close attention to the sectarian roots of our Ambassador) demands Maliki crack down on militias, and continues to seek alliances… Read more »
Kim Ritter
Guest
Kim Ritter
10 years 4 hours ago

OKAY Eric- My comment may have been off topic- I admit it and apologize profusely for any offense caused by my off-topic post. Happy now???

Mikef
Guest
Mikef
10 years 4 hours ago
“I don’t ask to have 100,000 American soldiers — 10,000 soldiers and two air bases would be enough.” Wow! Isn’t it convenient that GW also wants a couple of bases in Iraq. It’s nice when these things work out, isn’t it? Seriously, this guy depends on us for his job. Despite the elections, he serves at the president’s pleasure not the Iraqi’s. (Remember, we didn’t like the guy they wanted for PM (Jaafari), so we strong armed them into accepting Maliki.) He gets called in to make Bush’s case for staying the course, just before the midterms, just like the… Read more »
Joe Albanese
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Joe Albanese
9 years 11 months ago
What a truly silly post. I guess we could all selectively pick one or two Iraqis to prove our points now couldn’t we. Well, for the second part of the story you should all read Juan Cole’s blog this morning where he points out all of the Iraqis that strongly disagree with permanent US bases and calls for a US timetable. Guess that means your wrong now right Michael and the Democratic position is the one held by Iraqis, right? From your logic that is the only conclusion I can come to. Silly, silly post. Here is a snippet: Shaikh… Read more »
Rudi
Guest
Rudi
9 years 11 months ago

BallonJuice has a response to MvdG post:
BJ
It is a critique of his points and not a hatchet job like the response from Huffington.

They are in the Elrod/Mikkel camp, this proposal is only good for the Kurds, not greater Iraq.

Hiwa Ali
Guest
Hiwa Ali
9 years 11 months ago

There is no word for me to thank a great nation like the people of America to liberate Iraq. Bringing democracy to our people, and we stand shoulder to shoulder with you to fight terror and God wills it we will destory them. If America make a mistake by withdrawing from Iraq, the terrorists will win and they will knock your door one day so please for sake of your owen lives think twice before make such dicision. Your soldiers are our heros. God bless America and the western allies.

Eric
Guest
Eric
9 years 11 months ago

It’s interesting that none of the parties really want’s US out except AlQ. What they seem to be doing is jockeying for position and power against each other and the US must stay there to make sure there is a country left for them to run. There will most likely be violence there for the forcable future……So? As long as the county can stay togeather and maintain some reasonable level of freedom we and they win.

Rudi
Guest
Rudi
9 years 11 months ago

No Eric, polls of Iraqis want the US out. The Shiites are being qiut, but would love to see us leave. We are tolerated in the Green Zone, the Red Zone is another story. Stop the Rovian meme.

Kim Ritter
Guest
Kim Ritter
9 years 11 months ago

Rudi- Thanks for the link! Balloon Juice had the best response of anyone to Mvdp’s post.

Mark Adams
Guest
9 years 11 months ago

Eric: do you have any idea how wrong you are? Maybe this will enlighten you.

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