'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

Love people, not pleasure
image Oval Office lacks resolve on Ukraine
image Middle East Morass: A public opinion rundown of Iraq, Iran, and more
image Verizon's Inspire Her Mind ad and the facts they didn't tell you
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

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