Achcar and Bacevich on exiting Iraq

Gilbert Achcar’s excellent answer to Juan Cole’s “not-an-exit” plan is here.
Kudos to Juan for posting the whole of Gilbert’s critique on his own site.
Gilbert makes many of the same points I would have made if I’d had more time to write yesterday. (I have a nasty big deadline I’m supposed to be meeting today. Right now. Yikes.)
Gilbert was quite right to give prominent mention to Andrew Bacevich’s important oped in the WaPo over the weekend.
For a slightly earlier “exchange” about Iraq between Juan and me (and Nir Rosen and Shibley Telhami), check out that long forum we had in The Nation at the end of July.

9 thoughts on “Achcar and Bacevich on exiting Iraq”

  1. Salah,
    Thanks so much for your link to Robert Dreyfuss analysis. It’s a great piece.. and a better proposal than that of Juan Cole. He has a good argument against the false assumption that withdrawing the troops of Iraq now would create a chaos and drive to a civil war : he propose negotiations with the resistance and makes comparison with the end of the Vietnam war. Well worth the reading.

  2. For those of you who missed it (like me), Salam Pax is back and blogging again (he was out of Iraq for five weeks).
    He has some interesting remarks concerning the drafting of the constitution, the extension of the deadline etc..

  3. GWB. says he can’t set a deadline to bring the troops home. But he started the war on an artificial deadline; he declared a “Mission Accomplished” end to major hostilities on an artificial deadline; he was inflexible on deadlines for handing over Iraqi sovereignty and holding elections. And he tried to force the Iraqis to produce a constitution on his deadline when the squabbling politicians of the ethnic and religious factions hadn’t even reached consensus on little things like “Do we want one country?”

  4. Concerning Gilbert Achcar, here are one or two things I found about him :
    “Gilbert Achcar lived in Lebanon for many years before moving to France where he teaches politics and international relations at the University of Paris. He is a frequent contributor to

  5. Well since the Comments section seems to be working for me again, can I share my thoughts?
    GWB has of course never actually defined what “staying the course” in Iraq means in quantifiable terms: indeed not even in vague terms in respect of most of the issues, e.g. reducing crime (kidnappings etc) to an acceptable level, achieving a reasonable state of non-corruption in Government ministries, restoring essential services, and so on. Not to mention “defeating” the insurgency.
    Juan Cole seems to me to still be thinking in terms of staying a course, just a more limited one than whatever Bush has in mind. (Insofar as he has anything in mind, which is perhaps debatable.)
    And he also seems to be thinking to some extent, like most Americans still, in terms of “saving face” – those 2000-odd US troop deaths can

  6. ‎” a reasonable state of non-corruption in Government ministries, restoring essential ‎services”‎
    John, I think this not totally right
    ‎1- Paul Bremer played with Iraqi money when he is in charge all ‎we know there were $US9 Billions went missing so it

  7. Dreyfuss is right on. It only makes sense. The Arab Sunnis are the ones dissatisfied most, partly because of their defeat at the hands of the US. The resistance leadership holds the key to peace. The Kurdish areas were relatively secure even before the war. The Shi’i are, between the quasi-government and the militias, sorting out security in areas in which they predominate (albeit with too much ethnic cleansing already). In terms of instability, the Arab Sunnis hold the key: they cannot be ignored, it seems, given that some elements are intent on disrupting the Kurdish and Shi’i areas and the others are generally not stopping them. Again, as with Israel and the Palestinians, the wisdom of the Dreyfuss approach is peeling from the resistance those Arab Sunnis who would accept a relatively nonfundamentalist government from those who insist upon it. One thing I think that is missing from his article is framing the strategy on the part of the US.
    I would think of it like this: the US should acknowledge that at this point, the resistance is largely fueled by the continued US presence, the US does not want to be present, the US is ready to withdraw if the resistance is ready to take part in creating/building governmental institutions determined by Iraqis, and having the resistance join the government is the last goal of the US in Iraq, so an agreement to that effect will enable complete US withdrawal.

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