This is going to be an unpopular post…
Yes, I believe it is long past time for American, British and all other troops to leave Iraq. That is not a new position, nor is it surprising.
What you may be surprised to hear.. because it is certainly not something I have suggested before on this blog… is that I believe it is time to leave Iraq to Iraqis.
After the Coalition leaves, unless specifically requested by the Iraqi government, no effort should be made to insert any other kind of foreign presence, UN, NATO, or otherwise in Iraq. Others who are perhaps more versed than me in geopolitics think otherwise.
I will explain.
Iraq is clearly not the country it was in 2003. Many Iraqis, perhaps most, reject violence… but many others are all too eager to retaliate and cry from retribution, following tribal, religious and ethnic banners.
Foreign troops will only complicate matters.. and provide Iraqis, and foreign jihadis, with a scapegoat. This is why the United Nations traditionally exits any internal conflict before it “goes hot”. Once the situation deteriorates to that point one cannot help but be pulled to one side or the other… or worse, become a target of both sides. (Which is exactly what has happen to American and British troops)
So. It is time to leave Iraq to Iraqis. Yes, by leaving a relative vacuum.. the probability of all out civil war would be even higher. Through history, that is how countries are born. If Iraq splits into 2 or 3 countries… or stays a united Federation, we cannot know, and we should not try to predict or push.
It is up to Iraqis to decide their future, it always has been… and it should have been left up to them in the first place. Now, after 3 years of bloodshed created by the invasion of a foreign army, they must be left to fend for themselves. Not because it is any lesson that *they* need to learn… christ… they’ve been through enough… rather, it’s a lesson we foreigners must learn. We cannot attempt to impose our own will on places we do not fully understand.
America was born through revolution. America suffered terrible civil war. America was not built overnight.. or in 3 years… it took many generations to build the strong, proud, and free America we know today.
Iraqis’ must be allowed now to build their country as they see fit. That will likely mean terrible bloodshed and a very uncertain outcome in the short term.. but in the longterm, hopefully, a stable solution will emerge. Iraq is a country born out of fallen Empires… Ottoman… British… American… it’s now time to allow Iraq to be born (or not) by Iraqis.