The US military role in Iraq has officially ended

  • #26
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/15/us-exit-iraq-withdrawal-ambivalence?newsfeed=true

For the US, IIRC, ~4500 dead, 30,000 injured, 1.5 million have served with perhaps 810,000 suffering from PTSD, and about $1 trillion in financial costs.

When the war started, I had been traveling extensively and needed a long break. I got home just in time to watch the invasion on TV. Not long after we took the palace, I joined PF.
I'm curious. Did the US get significantly more oil, or anything else, out of this 8-year thing? We all know, more or less, what the cost was (ie., what was lost by all those involved). What was gained?

Ok, we killed Saddam. But it seems to me that if that was the goal, then it could have been done for a lot less. The rest of it, the WMD and democracy stuff, seems like a lot of fluff to me. Which seems to leave control of Iraq's oil as the primary motivation. Was that it? Or was/is there more or something else to it?
 
  • #27
I was glued to the TV during Gulf War #1. CNN's on the spot coverage completely changed the experience of war for people who weren't actually there. It was surreal.
Funny thing is we watched CNN in the gulf too! We learned everything that was going on from them! I was stuck down in the main machinery room so not much intel filtered down there except what bell to answer or we need more steam for the cats.
 
  • #28
I'm curious. Did the US get significantly more oil, or anything else, out of this 8-year thing? We all know, more or less, what the cost was (ie., what was lost by all those involved). What was gained?

Ok, we killed Saddam. But it seems to me that if that was the goal, then it could have been done for a lot less. The rest of it, the WMD and democracy stuff, seems like a lot of fluff to me. Which seems to leave control of Iraq's oil as the primary motivation. Was that it? Or was/is there more or something else to it?
There was something for everybody. One of the main reasons was to secure Saudi Arabia. The populace didn't like having US soldiers stationed there permanently, and there was danger of rebellion, as well as a possible Iraqi invasion of Saudi Arabia. (Source, Paul Wolfowitz Vanity Fair interview.)

Other reasons included the security of Israel, and huge sums of money transferred to major campaign contributors. Ultimately the plan was to invade Syria in order to secure a supply line for an invasion of Iran, both to topple regimes unfriendly to the United States. I recall George W. appearing on TV and declaring that the weapons of mass destruction had been moved to Syria. Right.

As for the WMD thing, I recall reading that if we found them then we had to invade, and if we didn't find them then they were hiding them and we had to invade.
 
  • #29
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There was something for everybody. One of the main reasons was to secure Saudi Arabia. The populace didn't like having US soldiers stationed there permanently, and there was danger of rebellion, as well as a possible Iraqi invasion of Saudi Arabia. (Source, Paul Wolfowitz Vanity Fair interview.)

Other reasons included the security of Israel, and huge sums of money transferred to major campaign contributors. Ultimately the plan was to invade Syria in order to secure a supply line for an invasion of Iran, both to topple regimes unfriendly to the United States. I recall George W. appearing on TV and declaring that the weapons of mass destruction had been moved to Syria. Right.

As for the WMD thing, I recall reading that if we found them then we had to invade, and if we didn't find them then they were hiding them and we had to invade.
Ok. Thanks for the feedback. Food for thought/research(if I get time).
 
  • #30
CAC1001
Not to mention somewhere between 100,000 and 1,000,000 dead Iraqi citizens.
That's because al-quaeda decided to start a war with the U.S. in Iraq.

We also enhanced Iran's influence in the country and the region.
We took out Saddam Hussein, a very brutal dictator and a danger in that region. On Iran, I liken it to if the U.S. had taken out Hitler in the 1930s, only to then get blamed for "strengthening" the influence of the Soviet Union in the region as Nazi Germany was seen as serving as a balance. Iran's influence would be limited in Iraq I think if we were maintaining a residual force there, like we did in South Korea at the end of the Korean War, or in Germany after WWII.
 
  • #31
That's because al-quaeda decided to start a war with the U.S. in Iraq.
As reported by the Christian Science Monitor, "Hussein, a secularist, and bin Laden, a Muslim fundamentalist, [were] known to despise each other."21 Bin Laden referred to Saddam as a "socialist infidel" and, according to the 9/11 Report, was sponsoring anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan.22 Conversely, a 2006 report by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded that "Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qa'ida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al-Qa'ida to provide material or operational support.

On April 29, 2007, former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet said on 60 Minutes, "We could never verify that there was any Iraqi authority, direction and control, complicity with al-Qaeda for 9/11 or any operational act against America, period." The head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich, commented, "I think it's obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq). They made out links where they didn't exist."

'to the fundamentalist leadership of al Qaeda, Saddam represented the worst kind of "apostate" regime' --- Pentagon-sponsored study entitled Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents

The New York Times called the 2008 Senate report "especially critical of statements by the president and vice president linking Iraq to Al Qaeda and raising the possibility that Mr. Hussein might supply the terrorist group with unconventional weapons." The Chair of the Committee, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), commented in an addendum to the report, "Representing to the American people that the two had an operational partnership and posed a single, indistinguishable threat was fundamentally misleading and led the nation to war on false premises.
 
  • #32
BobG
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We also enhanced Iran's influence in the country and the region.
From Ivan's link:

The spectre of Iran stepping into an American vacuum gets regular play in non-government media and in Sunni areas of the country, which still feel collectively marginalised eight years after their power base was shattered.
I wonder if this is a serious possibility.
I think we did increase Iran's influence in Iraq, but how much we increased that influence is also important.

Religion isn't the only influence on the politics of the region. Iraq is an Arab country and Iran is a Persian country. That will limit just how much influence Iran will have, or at least influence how they play their cards. Plus, in Saudi Arabia, you still have a Sunni Arab country that also influences things in Iraq.

It's true Iran has been increasing its influence on the region just by tightening its ties to Syria (and through them, with Hezbollah and Hamas), so the Shiite angle is important, and the Arab Spring could also improve Iran's position at least a little, but I don't see Iraq becoming a satellite state of Iran. I just see this as another way for Iran to increase its ties by emphasizing what it has in common with some Arab countries as opposed to a rather major difference in ethnicity - if Arab countries allow that to happen.

Keep in mind that Arab countries are doing more to pressure Syria right now than the US is. If Assad were to fall in Syria, then that would be a blow that would outweigh anything Iran is likely to gain with Iraq.

All in all, I think the US put out a whole lot of effort to make things just a little bit worse for us in the Middle East. Not good, but not a disaster either.

Provided, of course, that tensions between the Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites don't eventually result in the country falling back into civil war, which is still a good possibility if you use other ethnically divided countries as an example (Lebanon in the late 50's/early 60's and Sudan in the 90's being two examples of a peaceful resolution eventually falling apart).
 
  • #33
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Addressing who will remain behind other than embassy personnel:

Even so, American civilian officials will primarily be guarded by private security contractors, not U.S. troops. The State Department has talked of hiring as many as 8,000 such guards.
http://www.nationaljournal.com/u-s-troop-withdrawal-motivated-by-iraqi-insistence-not-u-s-choice-20111021 [Broken]

I caught a news broadcast that stated "over 10,000" private security personnel.

We built several large bases in Iraq that were intended to keep an America presence in the area?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Asad_Airbase
 
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  • #34
russ_watters
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  • #35
russ_watters
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I think you missed the point, since your post has nothing whatsoever to do with what you quoted. The point was that after the war in Iraq started, foreign terrorists streamed into Iraq to fight against Americans. I actually consider that a positive thing.
 
  • #36
BobG
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I think you missed the point, since your post has nothing whatsoever to do with what you quoted. The point was that after the war in Iraq started, foreign terrorists streamed into Iraq to fight against Americans. I actually consider that a positive thing.
Where did they come from?

Foreign terrorists streaming into Iraq most likely was a positive thing for Russia, as Russian casualties in Chechnya dropped about the same time that terrorist activity in Iraq started rising.

I admit that is far from convincing. Russian casualties in Chechnya were about 200 per month in 2000, and a little less than 500 per year in 2001 and 2002, so the tide was already turning in Chechnya. Then casualties dropped to under 300 for 2003, to under 200 for 2004 & 2005, to under 100 in 2006. Towards the end of 2004 was the Beslan schoolhouse massacre and was a turning point, in a way. After that, rebel leaders started dieing rather regularly.

But the increase in Iraq was pretty large if all of Iraq's terrorists were freshly trained. I think a significant portion of those folks had to come already trained from somewhere else. It might be a stretch to say terrorism in Iraq turned the tide in Chechnya. It's more likely that once the tide started turning in Chechnya, Iraq seemed like a more promising operating region.

In other words, terrorists flocking to Iraq didn't turn the tide in Chechnya, but it did make for a more rapid turn of events in Chechnya.

In the grand scheme of things, I don't think it mattered where terrorists fought. All that happened was the battle shifted from one country to another.

On a smaller scale, all that happened was that the US got the opportunity to fight them instead of the Russians fighting against them.
 
  • #37
morrobay
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Invading Iraq after 9/11 would have been like invading Mexico after Peal Harbor.
Sure it was a good thing to remove Saddam based on humanitarian reasons.
But the United Nations and International Court should have been tried first.
If those options failed then removing him in another way would have been in order.
That would not involve a wholesale war.
So in the end , a secular government was removed and replaced by a religious
government that is aligned with Iran
 
  • #38
widereader
USA is currently having problems within it soils but it keeps on "taking care" of the concerns outside it. Although most countries it has helped are eternally grateful to America, Americans should and foremost prioritize its own above others. Too much being the Uncle Sam. Many are already hurt from its continual sacrifices.
 
  • #39
BobG
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I think you missed the point, since your post has nothing whatsoever to do with what you quoted. The point was that after the war in Iraq started, foreign terrorists streamed into Iraq to fight against Americans. I actually consider that a positive thing.
Where did they come from?
A more interesting question would be where they went afte they wore out their welcome in Iraq?

And what impact did having them divert to Iraq for a few years have?

The benefits of having foreign terrorists stream into Iraq really haven't been spelled out.
 

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