Can U.S. Withdraw From Iraq?

Can U.S. withdraw from Iraq? My answer is an unqualified yes. The experts who foresee U.S. withdrawal making Baghdad go red with bloodshed have got it wrong. The damage has already been done. The U.S. can now occupy the Iraq for ever and it would not change a thing.

Bush Administration would not like to withdraw because it is tantamount to acknowledging that it had failed in an important foreign policy mission. It would much rather new administration take the blame. I sense that it is for the very same reason that the democrats who smell the victory in the presidential race want the present administration to complete the withdrawal and not leave the burden on their shoulders.

Let's face the facts head on. Americans are perceived as an occupying force. As long as they stay in Iraq, they would be the target of public's ire. As long as they occupy Iraq, there is no possibility of reconciliation among the warring factions, especially since one sectarian group (Shias) feels bolstered by the presence of foreign troops and the other (Sunnis) by disgruntled foreign militants. I am not an idealist and I do not believe U.S. withdrawal will make these groups see the light of reason and suddenly come into an understanding. But, I am also not a believer in the ability of an army to settle any sectarian violence. It has not happened in Ireland. It has not happened in Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Palestine, or Africa. And it certainly is not going to happen in Iraq, especially since all the militant groups realize that sooner rather than later domestic compulsions will make U.S. get out of Iraq!

Therefore, we are better served by acknowledging the imminent reality of U.S. withdrawal and start looking for other possible alternatives. It could take the shape of persuading U.N. peacekeepers, friendly powers or regional players to get into the act. I do not know how receptive the U.S. is to the idea of other powers playing a key role in Iraq, but in the end it is either the U.N. or them that the U.S. would have to fall back on.

Ignore the comments of present Iraqi government and Bush Administration, each of whom have a strategic stake in continuation of U.S. occupation, the sane citizens of the world need to start exploring saner options. Do not you agree?

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