'End this war' is not a strategy

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ted Green/U.S. Navy

U.S. Army Pfc. Robert Parker (2nd from left) provides fire support for his squad members during a live-fire exercise at the Kirkush Military Training Base in the Diyala province of Iraq on June 27, 2010.

Article Highlights

  • Iraq has largest land border with #Iran and can make or break sanctions US attempts to impose

    Tweet This

  • "End this war" was never a policy, still less a strategy

    Tweet This

  • Silence from White House on how to achieve #natsec interests has been deafening

    Tweet This

The end of American military presence in Iraq is not the end of Iraq or the end of America’s interests in Iraq.  The worst manifestation of the Vietnam complex that has informed so many decisions about American policy in Iraq is the inherent conviction that Iraq will disappear into the dustbin of history once America leaves, as Vietnam did.  The differences, however, are so stark as to defy any comparison.  Iraq continues to occupy vital geostrategic terrain in an area of central concern to the United States.  It is the second-largest potential oil-producing state.  It sits astride the Sunni-Shi’a divide in the Arab world (and hosts the most important Shi’a shrines anywhere in the world).  It has the largest land border with Iran of any state and can make or break any sanctions regime the U.S. and its allies attempt to impose on Iran.  American policy toward Iraq, in other words, continues to be of central importance to American policy, period.

We can use the occasion of the withdrawal of the last US forces to relitigate the decision to invade in 2003, the way the war was conducted after that, or the most recent decision to withdraw.  But what really matters–and what should be occupying our attention, but is not–is what our policy will be going forward.  ”End this war” was never a policy, still less a strategy.  The President has accomplished that campaign promise.  Now he must face an even harder question:  What is our strategy for pursuing and achieving our vital national security interests and objectives in Iraq in the absence of a military presence?  So far, the silence from the White House on that issue–apart from bromides about economic activities and friendship–has been deafening.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine

What's new on AEI

Making Ryan's tax plan smarter
image The teacher evaluation confronts the future
image How to reform the US immigration system
image Inversion hysteria
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 01
    MON
  • 02
    TUE
  • 03
    WED
  • 04
    THU
  • 05
    FRI
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
From anarchy to Augustus: Lessons on dealing with disorder, from Rome’s first emperor

We invite you to join us for two panel discussions on how Augustus created order from chaos 2,000 years ago, and what makes for durable domestic and international political systems in the 21st century.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Multiple choice: Expanding opportunity through innovation in K–12 education

Please join us for a book launch event and panel discussion about how a marketplace of education options can help today's students succeed in tomorrow's economy. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the featured book.

Thursday, September 04, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
How conservatives can save the safety net

Please join us for a luncheon event in which our panel will discuss what conservatives can learn from how liberals talk and think about the safety net and where free-market economics, federalism, and social responsibility intersect to lift people out of poverty.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.