No civil war when the troops leave

This is worth yelling louder:

Iraqis say Basra quieter after British troop pullout

BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) – Residents of Iraq’s southern city of Basra have begun strolling riverfront streets again after four years of fear, their city much quieter since British troops withdrew from the grand Saddam Hussein-era Basra Palace.

Political assassinations and sectarian violence continue, some city officials say, but on a much smaller scale than at any time since British troops moved into the city after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

This has been the last resort argument against bringing the troops home – they must ensure that Iraq does not spiral into civil war.

Beyond the facts that:

  • civil war is already there
  • what will happen once the troops leave will happen pretty much irrespective of when they leave, as they are not resolving anything in the meanwhile, so keeping them only increases the death toll for everybody
  •   the “Pottery Barn” rule never said anything about trying to repair in the shop what you’ve broken

the argument that there is a responsibility not to abandon the Iraqis to war and chaos has had surprising force.
Well, although for most of us on the site it is not a good enough argument to keep the troops over there (and keep the occupation going, and the deathtoll increasing), it happens that it is not even true!

“The situation these days is better. We were living in hell … the area is calm since their withdrawal,” said housewife Khairiya Salman, who lives near the palace.

Civil servant Wisam Abdul Sada agreed. “We do not hear the sounds of explosions which were shaking our houses and terrifying our women and children,” he told Reuters.


It had been feared the British withdrawal would trigger an upsurge in violence in Basra. Merchant Faris Mohammed Ali described the British soldiers as a “scarecrow”.

“Frankly I didn’t want the British troops to withdraw, not because I liked them but because I am afraid of the factions and their armed groups, they are in a constant struggle which may burn the city one day,” he said.

But for now Basra seems quieter and safer to some families who have started to come out at night to stroll along the banks of the Shatt al-Arab river, something that would have been unthinkable not long ago.

Despite the very real infighting between Iraqis, the occupation troops are making things worse, not better.

There’s not a single reason to keep them in.


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  1. But you are El Roy of the tip jar!

    Of course the RW’rs will just say “Oh SURE! In the south it is all fine. But once we leave Baghdad….

    Facts don’t seem to sway the catapulted propagandas flight plan much.

    But man, can you imagine what a relief it must be to have a frikkin ARMY withdraw from your city?!?!

  2. for what I’ve been grumbling for years.

    We are the problem, not the solution.

    Hilarious in a pathetic sort of way is Edwards claim we need troops to remain to guard our embassy.  Indeed we would need a hell of a lot of troops for that assignment.

    Just a note on the side: Edwards BTW is the best choice of a bad lot IMHO.  I would as soon vote for Bush/Cheney as Hillary.  JMO.

    Best,  Terry

  3. all is bullshit. Sorry to be so crude, but it is bullshit. We kill, we torture, we make up stories that are more bullshit. I cannot keep up with the stories that pass through my mind each day, they all have names attached but just float through a sink hole is called bullshit. Iraq is a question that has no answer other then Why? and the Why? I know it is so obvious we all know it! Facing what we do is hard and yet why cant we? 

  4. will believe it yet

    • Pluto on October 4, 2007 at 1:28 am

    …to address the Pottery Barn meme — as an excuse for continuing US Troops (aka bullet catchers) in Iraq. (Not you Jerome, but the candidates, in general.)

    The Republicans gave that meme to the Dumb Dem Dogs as a chewtoy — since only liberals would give a shit what happens to people of swarthy complexion in some stinking desert.

    The REAL meme, the one the Republicans will use to make gains in the next election is:

    We are fighting them there, so we don’t have to fight them here.

    THAT’S the meme that wins votes for the Republicans and keeps the MIC pumping dollars for shareholders in Iraq.

    • Leighm on October 4, 2007 at 1:33 am

    I blogged this a while back, but straight to the source:

    Read this or George W. Bush will be president the rest of your life – The Anti-Empire Report

    As the call for withdrawal of American forces from Iraq grows louder, those who support the war are rewriting history to paint a scary picture of what happened in Vietnam after the United States military left in March 1973.

    They speak of invasions by the North Vietnamese communists, but fail to point out that a two-decades-long civil war had simply continued after the Americans left, minus a good deal of the horror which US bombs and chemical weapons had been causing.

    They speak of the “bloodbath” that followed the American withdrawal, a term that implies killing of large numbers of civilians who didn’t support the communists.

    But this never happened. If it had taken place the anti-communists in the United States who supported the war in Vietnam would have been more than happy to publicize a “commie bloodbath”. It would have made big headlines all over the world.

    The fact that you can’t find anything of the sort is indicative of the fact that nothing like a bloodbath took place. It would be difficult to otherwise disprove this negative.

      “Some 600,000 Vietnamese drowned in the South China Sea attempting to escape.”[4]

    Has anyone not confined to a right-wing happy farm ever heard of this before?

    They mix Vietnam and Cambodia together in the same thought, leaving the impression that the horrors of Pol Pot included Vietnam.

    This is the conservative National Review Online:

      “Six weeks later, the last Americans lifted off in helicopters from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon, leaving hundreds of panicked South Vietnamese immediately behind and an entire region to the mercy of the communists. The scene was similar in Phnom Penh [Cambodia]. The torture and murder spree that followed left millions of corpses.”[5]

    And here’s dear old Fox News, July 26, reporters Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes, with their guest, actor Jon Voight. Voight says

      “Right now, we’re having a lot of people who don’t know a whole lot of things crying for us pulling out of Iraq. This – there was a bloodbath when we pulled out of Vietnam, 2.5 million people in Cambodia and Vietnam – South Vietnam were slaughtered.”

    [In Full @ atlanticfreepress]

  5. Since we absolutely know the reasons for going there in the first place were false,lies and fabricated marketing points for the sole purpose of military contractors profits.  Yes, that Dick.

    The second purpose would then be re-establishment of modern warfare tactics in urban situations.  Yes, war games.  Oh, wait, oil should be number one, right?
    Second source,second confirmation.  Now how much did the Pentagon pay to plant that one.

  6. Plutonium Page pointed out this from thinkprogress.  I want to repeat her quote and then emphasize something that she didn’t.

    This week, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that he would reduce British presence in Iraq from 5,500 troops to 4,500 by Christmas. The Guardian reports today that Brown will cut “significantly more than the 1,000 announced yesterday” by next year.

    In response to the withdrawal announcement, the White House has decided to slander Britain. The Daily Telegraph reports today that a senior White House official has revoked Britain’s status of being “the closest Bush ally”:

    “There’s concern about Brown,” a senior White House foreign policy official told The Daily Telegraph. “But this is compensated by the fact that Paris and Berlin are much less of a headache. The need to hinge everything on London as the guarantor of European security has gone.”

    The White House official added that Britain would always be “the cornerstone” of US policy towards Europe but there was “a lot of unhappiness” about how British forces had performed in Basra and an acceptance that Mr Brown would pull the remaining 4,500 troops out of Iraq next year.

    “Operationally, British forces have performed poorly in Basra,” said the official. “Maybe it’s best that they leave. Now we will have a clear field in southern Iraq.”

    I want to point out something about this quote that might have gotten missed.  This made my eyes buldge out.

    “There’s concern about Brown,” a senior White House foreign policy official told The Daily Telegraph. “But this is compensated by the fact that Paris and Berlin are much less of a headache. The need to hinge everything on London as the guarantor of European security has gone.”

    I read that bold-faced pair of sentences and I couldn’t believe that a Senior White House Official would so blatantly and publically  DEFINE “Eurporean securtiy” as not giving America a “headache”.

    Does this equation — “European security” with lack of “headaches” — mean that “European security” really means “under America’s thumb”?

    I don’t see any other reading of that pair of sentences.

    Anyway, I read that and assumed there must be some context.  But it only gets worse.

    The next paragraph is:

    With Tony Blair departed, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, is seen by many as the man George W Bush can best do business with in Europe. Although Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has not lived up to initial expectations in Washington, she is still seen as far preferable to her predecessor Gerhard Schröder.

    “European secutity” is having a man “George W Bush” can do business with.  Merkel is not as good for “Eurpoean security”, has not “lived up to initial expectations”, but is still “far preferable to her predecessor”.

    This is just amazing.  I can’t believe that a White House official said this out loud, to a reporter.

    But there it is.

    • fatdave on October 4, 2007 at 4:20 am

    Despite Dear Prudence’s dodgy arithmetic and cruelly empty announcements, the only reason that 4500 troops remain drumming their heels so that they can polish their boots for something to do on an airfield near Basra, is as a sop to the hideous infant mewling of George W Bush.

    There’ll be trouble at home if Junior gets Nicola in the family way, she’s such a slag, like his last bit of Eurototty. And of course Merkel is preferable to Schroeder. She has such lovely  shoulders and Gerhard dyed his hair (allegedly).

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