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Exiting Iraq: Why the U.S. Must End the Military Occupation and Renew the War Against Al Qaeda [Paperback]

By Christopher A. Preble (Editor)
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Item description for Exiting Iraq: Why the U.S. Must End the Military Occupation and Renew the War Against Al Qaeda by Christopher A. Preble...

With the continuing U.S. occupation of Iraq, a special task force of scholars and policy experts calls into question the Bush administration's intention to stay as long as necessary. In this joint statement, the members argue that the presence of troops in Iraq distracts attention from fighting Al Qaeda and emboldens a new class of terrorists to take up arms against the United States. The task force's findings are essential reading for anyone concerned with the ongoing conflict and the war on terrorism

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Item Specifications...

Pages   98
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 25, 2004
Publisher   Cato Institute
ISBN  1930865643  
ISBN13  9781930865648  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Middle East > Iraq
2Books > Subjects > History > Military > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Current Events > Terrorism
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > Freedom & Security > Security
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > International > Relations

Reviews - What do customers think about Exiting Iraq: Why the U.S. Must End the Military Occupation and Renew the War Against Al Qaeda?

Slightly out of date but still useful  Mar 20, 2008
This is a somewhat old book and is thus slightly out of date, but with that said it is still very valuable.

This book focuses primarily on the pragmatic issues surrounding the war in Iraq. They first present several key reasons we should leave Iraq (it doesn't advance our national security, the goal of a democratic Iraq is unrealistic, etc.) and then explain how to get out.

This book isn't very long but still manages to provide a lot of information. They cover many of the basic reasons for withdrawing, although they naturally had to leave many issues out. For example, they focused mostly on pragmatic issues and not so much on moral issues like just war theory. In general, they don't focus too much on whether the war was justified in the first place; rather, their central question is "what should we do about the war in Iraq now?" They argue that U.S. interests must be the primary concern in this debate, and that the war's just not in our interest.

This book raises quite a few interesting - and hard - questions like "is a democratic Iraq necessarily in our best interest?" The authors argue that there's no reason to believe a democratic Iraq will necessarily be any less anti-American than a totalitarian Iraq, and a stable democracy in the area is not realistic anyway, so it shouldn't be a precondition for withdrawing.

To put it a different way, what happens if the Iraqis elect an anti-American government? Or what if they try to attain WMD too? Do we invalidate the elections and thus prove the democracy to be a sham and the government to be a puppet or do we attack them again and replace it with still another government? The neocons have been assuming, without justification, that democracies don't fight each other for years and that a democratic government will necessarily be favorable to our interests; I'm glad someone challenged them.

While calling for withdrawal, they are realistic about the risks of doing so. They fully acknowledge that withdrawing carries with it certain risks (which it does), but they point out that staying has risks associated with it too. They also spend a chapter addressing the perpetual question of "how do we get out?"

Although this book won't provide you with the most up-to-date information about the situation in Iraq and some of the material seems a little dated now (for example, their proposed date for withdrawal has long since come and gone), this book is still a worthwhile and thought-provoking read and is a very good contribution to the debate. No matter which side you're on, you owe it to yourself to read this book.
Exiting Iraq : Why the U.S. Must End the Military Occupation and Renew the War Against Al Qaeda  Mar 8, 2006
U.S. forces will "stay as long as necessary in Iraq," says President Bush; but Exiting Iraq, the product of a ten-man CATO Institute study group that includes Boston University military historian Andrew Bacevich, CATO vice president Ted Galen Carpenter, and Texas A&M University political scientist Michael Desch, asks at what cost. And is such an open-ended commitment in U.S. interests?

In a well-written, concise, and serious study, the authors argue that the U.S. should withdraw all its forces from Iraq by January 31, 2005, when the Iraqi government is slated to hold elections. "The United States must end the military occupation of Iraq because, regardless of what we do, our effort to remake Iraq in our image will fail." Instead, they maintain, U.S. soldiers should focus on the fight against Al-Qaeda.

What would become of Iraq? Exiting Iraq trumpets a realist line. Perhaps a Baath-style dictatorship or Iranian-style theocracy might fill the void left behind by U.S. forces. Such an outcome might indeed be "unpalatable from a humanitarian perspective" but they assert that it would not "pose a direct threat to American security interests." Instead, Exiting Iraq argues that the only lasting U.S. concern should be that any successor government does not produce weapons of mass destruction (WMD), threaten the United States, or sponsor anti-American terrorism.

While persuasive in theory, such sentiment ignores the lessons of September 11, 2001, when the extent of the Taliban threat only became apparent after its terrorists brought down the World Trade Center. Also, Exiting Iraq argues that links between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were tenuous at best. Even if one accepts this faulty argument, the book pays short shift to the matter of whether a unilateral U.S. withdrawal would enhance terrorist recruitment even more. After all, the 1983 withdrawal from Lebanon and the retreat from Somalia a decade later emboldened Islamists who saw the United States as a paper tiger. If the U.S. army flees Iraq, what Middle Eastern country would bother to heed U.S. redlines, let alone risk alliance with such an ephemeral power?

While extensively footnoted, the book's argument is too often based on newspaper articles of questionable accuracy. Unnamed intelligence sources, too, can play politics. For example, the authors draw information from both Knight-Ridder and The Guardian, whose correspondents have repeatedly drawn their Iraq reporting from two former government officials, one associated with the Lyndon LaRouche movement and the other listed as a foreign agent working for a Lebanese politician.

The authors' argument that U.S. commitment in Iraq distracts from combating WMD proliferation in countries such as Iran, Libya, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia bears consideration. However, if the entire U.S. national security apparatus is unable to focus on more than one threat simultaneously, then this raises serious questions (left unaddressed) about the country's defenses.

The authors maintain that democracy in the Arab world is a pipe dream, but they suffer from a lack of historical perspective. Their thesis mirrors arguments made decades ago about the prospects of German, Japanese, and Korean democracy.

Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2004
Excellent case for withdrawing from Iraq  Apr 5, 2005

The authors realistically define vital US security interests as `protecting the lives and well-being of Americans'. So they urge the USA to cut its losses, withdraw from Iraq and respect its sovereignty and independence. "The United States must promptly end its military occupation of Iraq. A military withdrawal will maximize America's ability to refocus its efforts on the fight against Al Qaeda and other anti-American terrorist groups with global reach and, at the same time, minimize the risks to vital US national security interests."

"There is no economic imperative for keeping troops there. The American military presence is not essential, and might even be detrimental, to ensuring access to Persian Gulf oil. ... US policy in the Persian Gulf should not be based on the assumption that the region's energy resources will not make it to market absent the presence of US troops. Oil is the principal source of revenue for the Persian Gulf countries; they could not withhold it from world markets without committing economic suicide."

Bush and Blair told us that the occupation would pay for itself and that post-war Iraq would quickly settle into a stable peace. They now want US and British troops to occupy Iraq indefinitely, regardless of costs and risks.

But "The military occupation of Iraq is counterproductive to winning the war on terrorism, enormously costly, militarily and economically unnecessary, and politically unsustainable. ... it emboldens anti-American terrorists to expand their operations, both against the forces in their neighbourhood and ultimately on American soil. And the presence of an American military garrison in Iraq weakens the forces of democratic reform by undermining an indigenous government's authority and credibility."

"Iraq is many years away from becoming a stable unified democracy, and there is nothing that the United States can do to alter this state of affairs." A democratic Middle East is a `chimera', so "U.S. military withdrawal should not be predicated on the establishment of a democratic government in Iraq." No conditions should be set for withdrawal.
A compelling case for ending the ongoing occupation.  Oct 13, 2004
This is the only book I've read of that actually details not only why we should end the military occupation of Iraq, but also how we can get out. The book recommends a complete withdrawal by January 2006, and its recommendations should be taken seriously by our political leaders.
Advocating a military withdrawal by January 31, 2005  Oct 10, 2004
Exiting Iraq: Why The U.s. Must End The Military Occupation And Renew The War Against Al Qaeda is the report of a specal task foce under the directorship of Christopher Preble, which was sponsored by the Cato Institute. Observing that the American occupation of Iraq has passed the one-year mark with no end in sight, Exiting Iraq questions the Bush Administration's costly operation, suggesting that America's presence actually encourages a new class of terrorists to rise against the United States, and undermines attempts to bring about political and economic reform. Advocating a military withdrawal by January 31, 2005, Exiting Iraq emphasizes the importance of orchestrating a foreign policy that clearly defines and protects vital American interests overseas without squandering lives or resources.

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