the d word

Posted on August 11, 2007

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Start getting worried.

It doesn’t look like we’re going to be leaving Iraq as soon as we want, even if Hillary or any of the other Democrats became the next president.

The New York Times reports that Hill and the other front runners in the Democratic presidential nomination race are starting to hedge, even as they keep up their demand that the Bush administration end the Iraq war, or they would if they captured the presidency.

Hill wants a small force to stay behind to fight terrorism, while John Edwards believes troops should be there to intervene in case civil war breaks out. Barack Obama is thinking along the same lines, advocating a number of troops to be there to provide security for American personnel, fight terrorism and train Iraqis, according to the NYT.

It might be infuriating, but at least they are realistic, and honest.

Reports have estimated that tonnes of equipment were shipped or flown to Iraq over the years, and that takes time to get out, if the withdrawal was to be conducted in an organized fashion. Apparently, even the sunniest prediction is that at least a year would be needed for all the troops to come home.

Whoever becomes the next occupant of the White House will also be forced to deal with the mess and the moral dilemma created by Bush and his cronies — how much involvement to commit, especially if a full-on civil war and slaughter take place. Or worse — what to do if the violence and unrest didn’t stop in Iraq but spread to other countries in the region.

Pity the poor sod who will be left carrying the baby when he or she takes on the top job.

And if that’s not enough of a hint that Iraq isn’t going to be a problem that the US can leave behind quickly or easily, consider this — the new war adviser to the White House actually said that there are considerations for bringing back the draft.

“I think it makes sense to certainly consider it,” Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute told National Public Radio on Friday. “And I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table. But ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation’s security by one means or another.”

While saying that the volunteer army had served the US well, Gen. Lute stressed the pressure and demands that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have inflicted on the troops. Hence the talk that they are thinking about re-implementing the universal draft.

On the bright side, the policy change might take a while to realize and is most probably unlikely to happen, given Bush’s short remaining time in the White House and the lack of political capital he has to introduce such an unpopular policy.

But if a draft is reinstated, it would be a powerful deterrent for war. No one is going to risk going on some silly adventure if they knew that more people, even their own sons and daughters, could be sent to theaters of war to be hurt or killed. The draft could actually stay politicians’ hands and make them think harder before committing troops, given the backlash they know they would face from an angry electorate.

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Posted in: iraq, politics, terrorism, US