Monday, May 29, 2006

Let's Go Home

Former NSA director and retired military man William Odom has a great piece in Foreign Policy Mag advocating an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Odom argues that stability for Iraq exists only on the other side of a civil war at the end of which some sort of consolidation of power will occur. That's a more pessimistic view than I would endorse, but I think it's not far off. Odom also argues that every other element of our foreign policy and our war on terror is being held hostage by Iraq, and until we get out we will be unable to make any forward progress. My favorite part is his discussion of the political impacts of withdrawal:

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the world’s opinion of the United States has plummeted, with the largest short-term drop in American history. The United States now garners as much international esteem as Russia. Withdrawing and admitting our mistake would reverse this trend. Very few countries have that kind of corrective capacity. I served as a military attaché in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during Richard Nixon’s Watergate crisis. When Nixon resigned, several Soviet officials who had previously expressed disdain for the United States told me they were astonished. One diplomat said, “Only your country is powerful enough to do this. It would destroy my country.”

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