What will happen when US troops withdraw from Iraq? Karen DeYoung and Thomas E. Ricks's
"Exit Strategies" (Washington Post, noted by Martha) report on the military's war games to attempt to determine what might happen:
If U.S. combat forces withdraw from Iraq in the near future, three developments would be likely to unfold. Majority Shiites would drive Sunnis out of ethnically mixed areas west to Anbar province. Southern Iraq would erupt in civil war between Shiite groups. And the Kurdish north would solidify its borders and invite a U.S. troop presence there. In short, Iraq would effectively become three separate nations.
That was the conclusion reached in recent "war games" exercises conducted for the U.S. military by retired Marine Col. Gary Anderson. "I honestly don't think it will be apocalyptic," said Anderson, who has served in Iraq and now works for a major defense contractor. But "it will be ugly."
In making the case for a continued U.S. troop presence, President Bush has offered far more dire forecasts, arguing that al-Qaeda or Iran -- or both -- would take over Iraq after a "precipitous withdrawal" of U.S. forces.
Bully Boy made 'dire forecasts' to get the US into Iraq. He lied. And yet he's treated as a trusted authority on predicting the future? al Qaeda's presence in Iraq is greatest in the mind of Michael Gordon. The realities of their small presence are they came into Iraq after the US and they would leave or be forced out when the US is gone. It's equally true that a group of terrorists and criminals were given 'statehood' and elevated by the Bully Boy's elevation of their status. That elevation has acted as a recruiting tool and, no doubt, also led some, around the world, to claim connections and to seek them out -- resulting in a similar effect to copycat seriel killers.
Bully Boy used 'dire forecasts' to get the illegal war with Iraq started claiming WMDs, mushroom clouds and a non-existant link between Iraq and al-Qaeada prior to the start of the illegal war. He uses the same fear to continue the illegal war and no one knows what will happen when US troops withdraw (but they will withdraw at some point). The lack of obvious outcomes is underscored by DeYoung and Ricks:
However, just as few envisioned the long Iraq war, now in its fifth year, or the many setbacks along the way, there are no firm conclusions regarding the consequences of a reduction in U.S. troops. A senior administration official closely involved in Iraq policy imagines a vast internecine slaughter as Iraq descends into chaos but cautions that it is impossible to know the outcome. "We've got to be very modest about our predictive capabilities," the official said.
In the New York Times, Carl Hulse reports:
Senate Democrats said Monday they would keep the Senate in session through the night on Tuesday in an effort to highlight Republican resistance to allowing a simple majority vote on a plan to withdraw troops from Iraq.
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