Thursday, May 04, 2006

Get Out of Iraq

William Odom was director of the National Security Agency during the Reagan administration and has been a thoughtful critic of the Iraq invasion. In a short essay in Foreign Policy Magazine, Odom says the time has come to cut and run.

Odom dissects the various administration rationales for the continuing war and concludes with this assessment:

Two facts, however painful, must be recognized, or we will remain perilously confused in Iraq. First, invading Iraq was not in the interests of the United States. It was in the interests of Iran and al Qaeda. For Iran, it avenged a grudge against Saddam for his invasion of the country in 1980. For al Qaeda, it made it easier to kill Americans. Second, the war has paralyzed the United States in the world diplomatically and strategically. Although relations with Europe show signs of marginal improvement, the trans-Atlantic alliance still may not survive the war. Only with a rapid withdrawal from Iraq will Washington regain diplomatic and military mobility. Tied down like Gulliver in the sands of Mesopotamia, we simply cannot attract the diplomatic and military cooperation necessary to win the real battle against terror. Getting out of Iraq is the precondition for any improvement.

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