The Instigator
Flyaway625
Con (against)
Losing
24 Points
The Contender
dullurd
Pro (for)
Winning
43 Points

The United States should immediately withdraw from Iraq.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/24/2007 Category: News
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 47,188 times Debate No: 976
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (23)

 

Flyaway625

Con

The Iraq War is, also known as Operation Iraqi Freedom, is an on-going conflict which began on March 20, 2003. The main rationale offered for the initial invasion of the country was the suspected production of weapons of mass destruction, which, in the hands of terrorists, pose a grave threat to the United States and their allies. Now, in 2007, the debate is no longer over whether the invasion was justified or not. The controversy is now over troop withdrawal. With the country divided, which way is right? Is our job done? Should we leave now? The answer to all these questions is "NO". As the instigators of this conflict, the United States should remain in Iraq until the job is done.
President Bush's recent troop surge has brought major military success to the war-torn area. The threat level in markets and other public venues has plummeted significantly. "Markets in Baghdad have faced devastating terrorist attacks. A car bombing in Shorja in February 2007, for example, killed 137 people. Today the market still faces occasional sniper attacks, but it is safer than it used to be. One innovation of the new strategy is closing markets to vehicles, thereby precluding car bombs that kill so many and garner so much media attention,"(McCain, John. "The War You're Not Reading About". April 8, 2007. Washington Post). Another heartening development from the troop surge is the increased safety of the streets and support from tribal leaders. For the first time since the beginning of the war, Senator John McCain from Arizona was able to meet with Iraqi leaders and enjoy the new found safety of Baghdad markets and streets. Such a victory should not be ignored. "For the first time, our delegation was able to drive, not use helicopters, from the airport to downtown Baghdad. For the First time, we met with Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar Province who are working with American and Iraqi forces to combat al-Qaeda. For the first time we visited Iraqi and American forces deployed in a joint security station in Baghdad—an integral part of the new strategy. We held a news conference in discuss what we saw; positive signs, under reported in the United States, that are reason for cautious optimism," (McCain, 2007).
As of right now, the fledgling democratic government of Iraq is not stable enough to operate on its own. The United States cannot leave until it is sure that the government will not once again turn into an oppressive dictatorship like the Hussein Regime. If the United States withdraws their military presence from Iraq, new government, military, and police officials will be slaughtered by the ever-present insurgency, a consequence that must not be ignored. The Iraqi military and police force are becoming more independent of the American forces, but they still need time to gain more members and capability. "Iraqi army and police forces are increasingly fighting on their own and with American forces, and their size and capability are growing. Iraqi army and police casualties have increased because they are fighting more," (McCain, 2007).
If for no other reason, the United States should maintain their current presence in Iraq for their own safety. The omnipresent threat of Radical Islam is still a serious global concern. "Radicalism is now more frightening than the arms race, the Holocaust, and economic collapse. If we leave we let them gain more power, influence and time to plan the next attack. Only they will not be taking easy targets on the ground in Iraq. They will be back in America. Withdrawal would be a new renaissance for Islam claiming more followers who have seen the means to get goals accomplished and what really works in the world, violence," ( SSG Victor Wentworth, US Army. September 2007). An early withdrawal from Iraq would mean an emergence of Iran and other Middle Eastern countries into this already complicated conflict. "We have to leave Iraq stronger that it is right now, or the Iranians, Syrians, Russians, or Chinese will be all over it. We have done good stuff there and we need to notify the world that we are leaving Iraq stronger and in the capable hands of a compassionate and competent leadership," (Col. David Hunt, US Army, Ret. On The Hunt. Random House, New York: 2007).
Many critics of the Iraq War will argue that the war was not justified in the first place and should therefore end immediately. This argument is quite easy to challenge. In 1991, the UN passed Resolution 687, stating that Iraq had to eliminate all development and production of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. After Iraq failed repeatedly to comply with the resolution, the UN passed another resolution, Resolution 1441. Resolution 1441 states that because Iraq failed to comply with Resolution 687, it must grant unrestricted access to UN inspectors. Once again, Iraq failed to comply with the UN's resolutions, giving the US a viable reason to go to war with Iraq.
Until the job in Iraq is done, the United States should not withdraw its troops. The US's recent success due to the troop surge has proved that the war in Iraq is winnable and that they are going to emerge from this conflict victoriously. The Iraqi government, military, and police force are not yet strong enough to operate without the help of the US, and if they did decide to withdraw, would collapse in utter disaster. The most important reason, though, is the global threat Radical Islam poses. If the US withdraws from Iraq, it will become a haven for terrorists, giving them time and resources to plan another terrorist attack against the US. As for the common argument of the pro-troop withdrawal advocates, the war with Iraq has always been justified, and the US should stay in Iraq until the job is done. "As every sensible observer has concluded, the consequences of failure in Iraq are so grave and so threatening for the region, and to the security of the United States, that to refuse Petraus's plan a chance to succeed would constitute a tragic failure of American resolve. This is not a time for partisan gamesmanship or for one-sided reporting. The stakes are just too high," (McCain, 2007).
dullurd

Pro

GENERALITIES:

Before I delve into the specifics of this issue, I'd first like to establish how it ought to be addressed. In one of the Republican debates, Mike Huckabee likened the USA's invasion of Iraq to breaking something in a store. To paraphrase him, "We broke it, so we bought it." Flyaway echoes this point when she states that "as the instigators of this conflict, the United States should remain in Iraq until the job is done." This argument, while it appeals to morals and sentiments we all can understand, should not be given credence. Every American with a trace of compassion in his/her heart grieves for the suffering and destruction our invasion has caused and wants badly for Iraq to be stable and safe. That is not controversial. The real debate, I submit, ought to be about what is best for Iraq, the USA and the rest of the world. In other words, it all comes down to a cost-benefit analysis. Huckabee's oversimplified analogy can hold water only if our continued presence in Iraq will produce a greater net benefit than withdrawal. We should ignore our moral gut reaction if a sober, logical analysis of the situation shows our gut reaction to be foolhardy. So all that matters in the end is the analysis.

If this approach comes off as cold-hearted to you, one further point needs to be made about Huckabee's argument. Who is "we?" The American people didn't break Iraq, and certainly our soldiers shouldn't be blamed because they had to follow orders. The moral responsibility for the war rests solely on those who planned and authorized it. 99.9999% of the public had no say in this matter, so we shouldn't feel personally responsible. At the very least, one has to admit that there are limits to how much the American public should sacrifice to help clean up a mess for which they bear no responsibility.

SPECIFICS:
First, I'll condense your arguments (fairly, I hope):
1) The surge has reduced violence.
2) The Iraqi government is currently too fragile. If we leave, it will collapse and chaos will ensue.
3) Leaving Iraq will endanger the USA because the radical islamists will follow us home.
4) Furthermore, if we leave, other countries like Russia could move in and coopt the country.
5) The invasion was justified because Saddam was violating UN resolutions.

My responses:
1) It's worth noting that 2007 was the most violent year yet in Iraq, and the recent reduction in violence is on a par with (I believe) 2005 levels, not necessarily a glorious achievement. That said, it isn't surprising that tens of thousands of extra troops have caused a reduction in violence. It is impossible to know, however, how long it will last. One huge problem with the Bush Administration's anti-terrorism policy is that it has no empirical basis. As Santayana said, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. An intelligent president would challenge his personal assumptions about the mindset of terrorists by reading up on academic studies of the topic. I'll talk more about this in 3), but at this point, I'd like to pose this question: how many successful revolutions can you name in which there was not popular support? Maybe it's because I wasn't a history major, but I can't think of any. It seems logical to suggest that the only way a country can successfully cast off a tyrannical leader is for its people to put aside their differences and work towards the common good. Since invading Iraq, we have seen the polar opposite of this. The Sunnis and Shia are trapped in a cycle of violence and revenge and are further fueled by the new presence of Al Qaeda (courtesy of our toppling Saddam).

2) and 4): There's a big difference between withdrawing from Iraq and leaving the Iraqis high and dry. I think a multilateral force (i.e. not just the USA) could certainly help maintain stability and prevent a malevolent neighbor from wresting power. It's also likely that merely announcing our intention to withdraw will provide a significant shot in the arm to the seriousness with which the Iraqis unite and solidify their government.

3) There is zero evidence for this and doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Wouldn't we be safer if our soldiers were here, defending the USA, then across the ocean, patrolling Iraq? If terrorists want to attack the US, why would our decision to leave affect them? I actually have a response to that question; our leaving Iraq would affect the terrorists' decision-making, but its effect would be the opposite of what you predict. Going back to the anti-intellectual policies of the administration, academia tells us that the leading cause of suicide terrorism is military occupation by a military of a predominantly different religion. Robert Pape, a professor at the University of Chicago who is frequently called upon by the military and CIA as a terrorism expert, created a database of every terrorist act in the past 100 years (that is to say essentially every terrorist act). His conclusion: military occupation where the occupied country's main religion is different than the occupiers' makes it TEN times more likely that suicide terrorism will ensue. This is not an exclusively Muslim-Christian phenomenon; there have been Sikh-Hindu and Buddhist-Hindu cases as well. For details, listen to this interview: http://www.antiwar.com...
In addition, Michael Scheuer, the former chief of the Osama Bin Laden tracking unit in the CIA, makes the same point. People resent being occupied. Seriously consider what it's like to be occupied by another country. It doesn't turn most people into terrorists, just the most radical ones, but it pisses everybody off. Anyway, you can't dismiss either of these experts as partisan or ignorant. They are seriously worth listening to.

5) Didn't you say "the debate is no longer over whether the invasion was justified or not?" This thing is getting long enough as it is, so if you want to debate this, I'll address it in my next argument.

FINALLY:
In order to perform a good cost-benefit analysis, one must very seriously consider the enormous costs this war is imposing on us. About 4,000 American soldiers have died, around the same death toll as 9/11. 28,711 American soldiers have been wounded. This isn't just bruises and scraped knees; it's dismemberment and disfiguration, horrendously tragic (see: http://www.antiwar.com...). Furthermore, untold tens of thousands have post-traumatic stress disorder and will be thusly scarred for life. And this is only Americans. Many more Iraqis than Americans have been killed, wounded, and scarred for life.

Additionally, this war imposes enormous economic costs. We borrow 2-3 billion dollars every day from China to finance it. We're spending hundreds of billions of dollars overseas, dollars that could be used for health care or improving out schools or building levies that won't break. And the saddest part is that this wrongheaded foreign policy could be stopped in its tracks if Bush were a little less smug and picked up a book for a change. If this war is mainly about preventing terrorism, it is vital that we realize that our occupation of countries poses a far greater threat to us than islamofascism. While blaming an ideological bogeyman is easy and provides emotional clarity, it can be disastrous if, as is so often the case, reality is more nuanced.
Debate Round No. 1
Flyaway625

Con

Flyaway625 forfeited this round.
dullurd

Pro

Ok, so I don't have anything to respond to. I guess I'll just highlight a couple things. In case we're also debating whether it was right to start the war in the first place: I actually used to be in favor of the war, and largely for the reason you gave, that Saddam was defying UN resolutions and the UN was letting it happen. One reason I've changed my mind on this is that I realized that in many ways, the UN's integrity has already been severely compromised. Google "Oil For Food" if you need stark, depressing proof of this. Also, UN representatives are appointed, so it's hard to have faith in their benevolence. Evil, backward, selfish governments will be represented in kind. So it can't be argued that intervening in Iraq could have helped global harmony via restoring credibility to the UN or any such thing, it's already a corrupted institution.

More broadly, it's tragically dangerous to oversimplify the terrible decision of going to war. Any reasonable citizen ought to be outraged that the UN shirked its duty to Iraq, but it's important for us not to let that emotion cloud our thinking. We and the Iraqis have lost so much in this quixotic struggle, a struggle against a country that really posed no threat to us. While righting wrongs and spreading freedom are both very emotionally appealing concepts, you have to admit that our army and their people have suffered grievously for our well-intended cockiness, and there's no guarantee that the country will end up better in the end. Right now, it seems likely that it will end up worse.

So an important lesson is that we really can't predict what will happen when we intervene in a country preemptively. Even if it's well-intentioned, history has shown that it's almost always a bad idea.
Debate Round No. 2
Flyaway625

Con

Flyaway625 forfeited this round.
dullurd

Pro

looks like my once-opponent doesn't have an account here anymore, too bad. So I've got nothing to add.
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by skyfallsout 9 years ago
skyfallsout
Though I do not necessarily agree with dullurd he definitley won this debate. I personaly feel as though there is too much intelectual dishonesty on either side of the debate to see the truth in anything these days. I think that we shouldn't have gone into Iraq in the way we did, we should have gone in a greater force and annihilated what resistance we had then given full responsibilty to elected Iraqi's and withdrawn our troops immediately after trading power, and possible giving services/money to help rebuild them with schools and other 'nicities' we as Americans enjoy. Then if theres ever another issue in the country we attempt to moderate it. I know that my idea has flaws as does any idea but it is what I feel should have been done, just an idea is all.
Posted by mmadderom 9 years ago
mmadderom
Where exactly are these "polls" coming from? Is someone from realpolitics.com going door to door and asking Iraqis this question, or something? You might have noticed the only "poll" that mattered during the Iraqi elections, putting in place a Government that would require U.S. assistance for quite some time.

The vast majority of the insurgents are NOT Iraqis fighting to free their country, they are radical Muslims from other parts of the region who want no part of a democratic Iraq.
Posted by Vikuta 9 years ago
Vikuta
Poll after poll has shown that Iraqis favor the withdrawal of US troops EVEN IF they believe it will lead to increased violence. "Insurgents" are people who are actually acting on their desire to see Americans leave. I think the term people in that kind of situation refer to themselves as "freedom fighters"
Posted by dhanson4 9 years ago
dhanson4
I vote for dullurd because he is an obvious www.HomeStarRunner.com fan.
Posted by mmadderom 9 years ago
mmadderom
"The Iraqi people don't want us there and most soldiers don't want to be there."

This is absolutely not true. The Iraqi people are THRILLED that we are there, it's the insurgents who want control of the country who don't want us there.

The vast majority of Soldiers I've encountered praise the progress made in that country and adamantly believe we should stay until the job is complete. What CNN and MSNBC are showing you is not a fair portrayal of what is going on.
Posted by Guardian27 9 years ago
Guardian27
I hate when someone tries to speak for a large group of people. To say that MOST soldiers don't want to be in Iraq is true, but to say that they're against the mission in Iraq is totally different. I'd say only a handful of people want to be seperated from their families and put in a combat zone. In that respect, you're correct. However, I don't believe you're right about the soldiers wanting to pull out and leave their mission incomplete.
Posted by malaki 9 years ago
malaki
pretty much bulldozed, some points she makes is we have to wait for Iraq to be stabilized and something which pretty much will not happen for several reasons.
1) Its surrounded my countries who find democracy offensive because it is an inherent rejection of allah
2) the insurgence in Iraq feel the same way, they just leave the country until US leaves and Iraq will be under syria law again.
Posted by goldspurs 9 years ago
goldspurs
Wonder why flyaway's account was closed?

Vikuta, where did you see that most of us in the military want out of Iraq? I have been in the Army 7 years and I have only met a handful of Soldiers that wanted out of Iraq. From what I see the majority of us want to stay and finish the job.
Posted by Vikuta 9 years ago
Vikuta
The Iraqi people don't want us there and most soldiers don't want to be there.
Posted by GraceDelacroix 9 years ago
GraceDelacroix
Personally, I believe our President is holding out this long simply because he does not want to go down in history books as the President who lost the Iraq War. He wants to put the blame squarely on the Democrats in Congress or the next President. Iraq was originally three tribes and the English forced them to live together as one country. We are not going to change thousands of years of tradition just because we tell them to. We should just let them go back to the three tribes, because they've been persecuting each other for so long that it'll be near impossible to change them. Also, this war is only helping to completely ruin our foreign relations. We've lost most of our allies and the ones we still have are becoming unwilling to help us more. And with good reason. This war has been drawn out for far too long and they don't want to waste anymore resources- or soldiers- on another country's civil war.
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Flyaway625dullurdTied
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