Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
HAVE YOUR DONATION DOUBLED!

If you are able to donate $100 or more for our Annual Fund Drive, your donation will be matched by another generous CounterPuncher! These are tough times. Regardless of the political rhetoric bantered about the airwaves, the recession hasn’t ended for most of us. We know that money is tight for many of you. But we also know that tens of thousands of daily readers of CounterPunch depend on us to slice through the smokescreen and tell it like is. Please, donate if you can!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Logic of Withdrawal

by ANTHONY ARNOVE

(This essay is adapted from ANTHONY ARNOVE’s January 29th testimony before Congress’s “Out Now Caucus,” chaired by Rep. Lynn Woolsey and Rep. Maxine Waters.)

The title of my book is borrowed from Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal, written in 1967 by the historian Howard Zinn.

In his book, Zinn argued the U.S. should pull out of Vietnam immediately and unconditionally. The consequences of not heading this call were enormous: tens of thousands of U.S. troops and millions in Indochina paid the price of the escalation and expansion of the war.

There are differences between Vietnam and Iraq. But there are all too many similarities. I fear we are in a moment analogous to the period after the Tet Offensive, when the U.S. faced defeat in Vietnam, but rather than retreat escalated the war and expanded it to Laos and Cambodia, using arguments much like the ones we now hear in this administration’s threats against Iran and Syria.

In my book, I make eight basic points that I will briefly summarize here.

1. The U.S. has no business to be in Iraq today. The Bush administration launched the invasion of Iraq on false premises, claiming it was preempting the threat posed to the U.S. by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and its links to al-Qaeda. Today we know the full extent of manipulation of intelligence that was used to start a war that was not defensive but offensive in nature.

2. The U.S. is not bringing democracy to Iraq. In fact, the U.S. occupation is denying the will of the Iraqi people. Iraqis have made it clear that no matter how much they are happy to see Saddam Hussein gone, they see U.S. troops as occupiers not liberators. Iraqis feel less safe as a result of our presence; believe we are the main source of instability; and say we are fueling sectarian conflict rather than diminishing it. The U.S. occupation – not al-Qaeda or Iran – is the reason for the insurgency.

3. The U.S. is not making the world safer by staying. Instead, we have made the world more unstable and dangerous. We have established a principle that countries may wage preemptive war, and in the process have sparked an intensified global arms race, including a nuclear arms race.

4. The U.S. is not preventing civil war. Iraq is already in a civil war, one exacerbated by our presence. This August, the Bush administration sent 14,000 additional troops into Baghdad. The result? A surge in violence and sectarianism. The additional 21,500 troops will only pour more fuel on the fire.

5. The U.S. is not confronting terrorism by staying. The main enemy that the U.S. confronts in Iraq is not al-Qaeda or foreign-backed terrorist groups but the very people we claim to have liberated.

6. The U.S. is not honoring those who died in Iraq by continuing the occupation. Now more than 3,000 U.S. troops have died. More than 22,000 have been wounded. The Iraqi death toll is far higher. Each additional death and injury only compounds the senseless tragedy we have seen so far.

7. The U.S. is not rebuilding Iraq. Despite the billions of dollars Congress has allocated for reconstruction efforts, contractors such as Bechtel and KBR have failed to restore electricity or access to safe water to pre-invasion levels. Unemployment has skyrocketed. Inflation is spiraling, putting basic necessities out of reach of Iraqis. Hospitals are in shambles. Iraq today is the world’s worst refugee crisis.

8. The U.S. is not fulfilling its obligation to the Iraqi people by staying. To those who argue we broke it, so we must fix it: rather than fixing Iraq, we are only breaking it further. There are many ways we can help Iraqis: withdraw; pay reparations – not only for the harm and suffering caused by our invasion and occupation, but for the years of sanctions, which hurt only the most vulnerable in Iraqi society, and all the years Washington armed and backed Saddam Hussein as he carried out his worst abuses; renounce our military bases; help the Iraqi refugees we have abandoned; and ensure the vast revenue from Iraq’s oil industry benefits Iraqis rather than ballooning the profits of Western oil giants.

The other night, on 60 Minutes, President Bush said “Everybody was wrong on weapons of mass destruction.” Yet millions of us who protested this war before it started were right, and were ignored. We did not have access to any special intelligence. We simply used our intelligence. And today we have the intelligence to know that each day we continue the occupation of Iraq, the situation gets worse. Every time we have been told “we are turning the corner,” the situation gets worse. And we have the intelligence to know that you cannot oppose the war, as some Democrats have proclaimed, and yet fund this war. To those who say we cannot withdraw “precipitously,” there is nothing precipitous about pulling out after four years of occupying another country against its will. And to those who say we are abandoning the troops, the best way to support the troops is to bring them home now.

ANTHONY ARNOVE is the author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal, just published in an updated paperback edition in the American Empire Project Series by Metropolitan Books, with a foreword by Howard Zinn.

 

More articles by:
October 23, 2017
Jack Heyman
Puerto Rico and the Jones Act Conundrum
Howard Lisnoff
Will the Military Throw the Book at Bowe Bergdahl?
Robert Hunziker
Hidden Danger of Ecological Collapse
Sheldon Richman
Dying for the Empire is Not Heroic
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
Careening Toward Nuclear War: the Political Paralysis of Europe, Russia and China
Jeff Berg
Looking for a Glass of Water and a Place to Shit
Yoav Litvin
The Art of Trolling – an Analysis of a Toxic Trend
Sarah Browning
There’s No Defense for Founding Fathers Who Practiced Slavery
Chuck Collins
An Independent Thinker’s Guide to the Tax Debate
Elliott Adams
Congress Can Stop War with North Korea
Jesselyn Radack – Kathleen McClellan
Insider Threat Program Training and Trump’s War on Leaks
Rosemary Mason - Colin Todhunter
The Global Food and Health Crisis: Monsanto’s Science is Bogus
Thomas Knapp
Hillary Clinton: Cold Creepiness with a Side of Corruption
Mel Gurtov
The Tragedy of American Foreign Policy
Weekend Edition
October 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Clinton, Assange and the War on Truth
Michael Hudson
Socialism, Land and Banking: 2017 Compared to 1917
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in the Life of CounterPunch
Paul Street
The Not-So-Radical “Socialist” From Vermont
Jason Hirthler
Censorship in the Digital Age
Jonathan Cook
Harvey Weinstein and the Politics of Hollywood
Andrew Levine
Diagnosing the Donald
Michelle Renee Matisons
Relocated Puerto Rican Families are Florida’s Latest Class War Targets
Richard Moser
Goldman Sachs vs. Goldman Sachs?
David Rosen
Male Sexual Violence: As American as Cherry Pie
Mike Whitney
John Brennan’s Police State USA
Robert Hunziker
Mr. Toxicity Zaps America
Peter Gelderloos
Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Democracy
Robert Fantina
Fatah, Hamas, Israel and the United States
Edward Curtin
Organized Chaos and Confusion as Political Control
Patrick Cockburn
The Transformation of Iraq: Kurds Have Lost 40% of Their Territory
CJ Hopkins
Tomorrow Belongs to the Corporatocracy
Bill Quigley
The Blueprint for the Most Radical City on the Planet
Brian Cloughley
Chinese Dreams and American Deaths in Africa
John Hultgren
Immigration and the American Political Imagination
Thomas Klikauer
Torturing the Poor, German-Style
Gerry Brown
China’s Elderly Statesmen
Pepe Escobar
Kirkuk Redux Was a Bloodless Offensive, Here’s Why
Jill Richardson
The Mundaneness of Sexual Violence
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Choreography of Human Dignity: Blade Runner 2049 and World War Z
Missy Comley Beattie
Bitch, Get Out!!
Andre Vltchek
The Greatest Indonesian Painter and “Praying to the Pig”
Ralph Nader
Why is Nobelist Economist Richard Thaler so Jovial?
Ricardo Vaz
Venezuela Regional Elections: Chavismo in Triumph, Opposition in Disarray and Media in Denial
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
NAFTA Talks Falter, Time To Increase Pressure
GD Dess
Why We Shouldn’t Let Hillary Haunt Us … And Why Having a Vision Matters
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail