I have no new insights. I just want to be able to point to my having made these points out loud way back in August 2006.

There is one solution to the USA’s involvement in Iraq. When I say “one,” I mean that it is the solution we are doomed to implement—whether we plan for it or not, and whether we like it or not.


As in, get everybody the hell out as quickly as possible—where “as quickly as possible” is measured in DAYS. Call it 72 hours. Pull the units out of the cities, form them up into proper field deployments under air cover, and head for a coast or border.

This will be an absolute disaster for Iraq. There will be blood in the streets—rivers of it. There are factions atop factions, and most loathe each other. They’re going to fight it out. Many people will die horribly. Whatever government emerges is going to be a nightmare.

This is bad. The trouble is, this is what’s going to happen sooner or later anyway. The Fall of Baghdad is going to be a bigger disaster than the Fall of Saigon in 1975. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single thing the USA can do to prevent it. The fire selector on an M16A4 does not include a setting for “Eliminate ethnic hatred.”

Understand that Iraqization is not going to work any better than Vietnamization did. Supporting a specific Iraqi government is not going to work any better than supporting a specific South Vietnamese government ever worked. As with Viet Nam, these realities transcend specifics of the USAen administration—Republican or Democrat, left, right, or center. No matter who takes power in 2009, 2013, or 2017, no matter what their politics or motives, any plan predicated on these notions will fail.

Further, a pullout with a timetable of months or years is just a slow, agonizing buildup to the finale. Recall Nixon and Ford: they understood the USA had to get out of Viet Nam, but they pursued Vietnamization for years. It didn’t help a soul. The final result—total defeat—was the same. They might as well have pulled out the day Nixon took office: it wouldn’t have been any worse for the Vietnamese, and fewer USAen soldiers would have died.

Sooner or later, that finale comes and it’s 72 hours to have everyone out of the country. Putting off the inevitable just costs money and lives while we sit around moaning about how tragic it all is.

Bite the bullet, cue up “White Christmas”, and hope the door doesn’t hammer our collective ass too hard on the way out.