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  • Obama's Risky Iraq Drawdown Plans Prompt Open Letter from Foreign Policy Experts

    A flurry of newspaper articles reporting that the Obama Administration may decide to disregard the advice of its military commanders and reduce the U.S. military presence in Iraq to less than 4,000 troops by the end of the year prompted 42 distinguished American foreign policy experts to write an open letter to President Obama on September 15, urging him to reconsider.

    The letter, published on the website of the Foreign Policy Initiative, stated that the signers were “gravely concerned” about the risks entailed in retaining such a small force:

    Failure to leave a significant U.S. military presence in Iraq will leave the country more vulnerable to internal and external threats, thus imperiling the hard-fought gains in security and governance made in recent years at significant cost to the United States. A successful, democratic Iraq will remain a model for other emerging Arab democracies and one day, its neighbor, Iran. However, a failing state in the heart of the Middle East would destabilize the region, empower Iran, and make vain more than eight years of efforts by the United States in Iraq.

    Although violence in Iraq is much diminished from its peak in 2004–2007, Iraq’s fragile coalition government needs continued U.S. military assistance to ward off the threats posed by pro-Iranian militias, al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists, and simmering tensions over territorial disputes in northern Iraq between Iraq’s Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and Christian groups.

    It has long been clear that the United States needs to remain engaged beyond 2011 in stabilizing one of the Middle East’s most pivotal states. Iraqi and American official are quietly negotiating behind the scenes to extend the presence of U.S. troops past the December 31 deadline set by the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement.

    The Obama Administration should now make every effort to avoid squandering the hard-won security gains in Iraq by withdrawing too many troops too fast. Iraq still needs substantial U.S. military, diplomatic, and political support to defeat various insurgent groups, stave off a possible return to civil war, and contain Iran’s expanding influence.

    Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Obama's Risky Iraq Drawdown Plans Prompt Open Letter from Foreign Policy Experts

    1. Steve says:

      Thanks for posting this! We were all over this on Common Cents as well…

      Common Cents http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

    2. L. Davis says:

      This is about the next election, not the welfare of our soldiers or the future of Iraq.

    3. John Walrath says:

      And maybe we can kill social security and medicare so we can spend another $7 trillion for Iraq

    4. I LOVE the idea of an open letter – what publications were copied on it? I haven't noticed coverage, but I wait for it to show up on my local morning news or in my FB News Feed – with two small children it's difficult to chase down the news. Was there any discussion of what the increased numbers of troops would do? I'm thinking public works kind of stuff – bridge-building, school-building, etc. Also, how do you reconcile keeping the troops their with the state of jobs and the economy? Finally, I think the word "emerging" is sexier, but "evolving" might be more facilitative. Sorry to use such a cumbersome word myself. Thanks for this piece!

    5. patty says:

      An idea……… Lets concentrate on our own country and get ALL our Military outta overseas…. I agree with L. Davis… This is NOT about the welfare of our Soldiers…. My son being one of them….. GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS….

    6. Lloyd Scallan says:

      These "Foreign Policy Experts" are the same bunch that depends on U.S. dollars supporting whatever government they are working for. Regardless of when we pull out of any Middle East country, the result will be the same. Those countries will revert back to the primitive state it was before we wasted our blood and wealth. Unlike Obama using our troops as political pawns, we should pull all troops out of every country, not the piece-meal approach that is being used purely for political reasons.

    7. AD-RtR/OS! says:

      The Left never lets facts-on-the-ground interfere with their ideological regidity, that wouldn't be "fair".

    8. wayne says:

      Another 500 billion ? This is madness !

      Are we to just sit and watch all this crazy empty pocket spending ? ; and how many other green lending schemes are there waiting to be discovered ?

      And what about the military ? In my minds eye that has always been the top priority of any administrtion, and this economy is shrinking !

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