Debate Club

American Counter-terrorism Efforts Will Suffer

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The short answer is 'yes.' The American troop withdrawal completed on December 15 jeopardizes both the progress and the sacrifice made over the last 10 years in Iraq.

The Obama administration has chosen a reckless course of action. It withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq before victory had been consolidated. This will allow the president to claim a major campaign promise fulfilled before the next presidential election. Not only that, but in the rush to get out, the administration clumsily failed even to negotiate terms for extending the troop presence before the deadline ran out.

[Iran Could Strike US in Afghanistan, Iraq.]

Let us not forget, the Bush administration also planned to leave Iraq by the end of 2011. But their plan called for keeping a number of U.S. forces in Iraq as trainers and advisors, a far more responsible course of action.

For the Iraqi people, the consequences of the premature American withdrawal will be instability, resurgence of terrorism and an uncertain future for Iraq's fledgling democracy. On December 22, a wave of violent, coordinated attacks killed at least 57 people, and just days after the December 15th withdrawal ceremony, the dominantly Shiite government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki purged many Sunni Arab leaders. Political instability is sure to follow. The Iraqi army and air force training will suffer as will air operations, the Iraqi air force having few helicopters and planes.

[Why America Is More Violent Than Other Democracies.]

For U.S. national security, likewise, the Obama administration's action will be detrimental. American counter-terrorism efforts will suffer as opportunities for intelligence gathering and surveillance will disappear. And of course the real winner in the Middle East will be Iran, whose interference in Iraqi politics and violations of its borders are sure to intensify. The Obama administration has washed its hands of an inconvenient war it never wanted. For this, many others will pay a steep price.

Helle Dale

About Helle Dale Senior Fellow in Public Diplomacy Studies at the Heritage Foundation

Tags
Iraq
Iraq war (2003-2011)
military
military strategy
Obama administration
Obama, Barack
Iran

Other Arguments

#1
31 Pts
Iraq Stands on the Brink of Disaster

Yes – Iraq Stands on the Brink of Disaster

Robert Zarate Policy Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative

#2
23 Pts
It's Already Too Late in Iraq

No – It's Already Too Late in Iraq

Phyllis Bennis Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies

#3
9 Pts
We Should Have Left Iraq Far Sooner

No – We Should Have Left Iraq Far Sooner

Christopher Preble Vice President for Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute

#4
6 Pts
Iraq Is Still A Work in Progress

Yes – Iraq Is Still A Work in Progress

Ilan Berman Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council

#5
5 Pts
We Should Have Left Iraq After Saddam Hussein Died

No – We Should Have Left Iraq After Saddam Hussein Died

Daniel J. Gallington Senior Policy and Program Adviser at the George C. Marshall Institute

#6
3 Pts
Withdrawal Served Obama's Electoral Agenda

Yes – Withdrawal Served Obama's Electoral Agenda

Michele Dunne Director of the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East

#8
1 Pts
Back to Kurdistan

Yes – Back to Kurdistan

Thomas Henriksen Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and at the U.S. Joint Special Operations University

#9
1 Pts
U.S. Withdrawal Came at Exactly the Right Time

No – U.S. Withdrawal Came at Exactly the Right Time

Lawrence J. Korb Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress

#10
-3 Pts
Obama Traded Stability in Iraq for Votes

Yes – Obama Traded Stability in Iraq for Votes

Danielle Pletka Vice President for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute

#11
-12 Pts
The Debate Over the Withdrawal Is Misplaced

No – The Debate Over the Withdrawal Is Misplaced

Daniel Gouré Vice President at the Lexington Institute

#12
-12 Pts
The War in Iraq Was a Mistake From the Beginning

No – The War in Iraq Was a Mistake From the Beginning

Dennis Kucinich U.S. Representative, Ohio's 10th District

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