Abandoning Iraq by Robert Kagan & William Kristol

Does Rep. Murtha understand the consequences of immediate withdrawal from Iraq?

REP. JACK MURTHA has had a distinguished congressional career. But his outburst last Thursday was breathtakingly irresponsible. Nowhere in his angry and emotional call for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq did the Pennsylvania Democrat bother to ask, much less answer, the most serious questions his proposal raises. What would be the likely outcome in Iraq if the United States pulled out? Does Murtha actually believe the Iraqi people could fight the al Qaeda terrorists and Saddam Hussein loyalists by themselves once American forces left? He does not say. In fact, he knows perfectly well that the Iraqi people are not yet capable of defending themselves against the monsters in their midst and that, therefore, a U.S. withdrawal would likely lead to carnage on a scale that would dwarf what is now occurring in Iraq.

But that would be just the beginning. If U.S. troops were withdrawn and the Iraqi people were not able to defeat the terrorists and Saddam loyalists, what would happen? What if Zarqawi and his al Qaeda allies were able to make common cause with the Baathists to turn Iraq into a terrorist state or to provide a haven for terrorists, complete with an oil supply to finance their global activities?

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