Most experts agree, in the event of a full-scale civil war in Iraq, there is no useful role for U.S. troops. (This position is even advanced by Bush administration officials.)
It is not the view, however, of Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Yesterday on CNN, Lugar said that U.S. troops should remain in Iraq if a full-scale civil war breaks out. (Lugar acknowledged Iraq is “heading toward” that outcome.) According to Lugar, “The idea, somehow, that civil war means that we leave is a non- starter, because Iraq’s physical integrity is important.” Watch it:
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), another member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said that putting “our troops in the middle of a civil war” would create a “slaughter of immense proportions.” Hagel added “The leadership in Congress will not put up with it.” It looks like Congressional leadership might put up with it afterall.
BLITZER: I interviewed the prime minister, Senator Lugar, of Iraq in the first hour of “Late Edition,” Nouri al-Maliki. He insists there is no civil war, and there won’t be a civil war in Iraq.
What do you think?
LUGAR: Well, we pray he’s right, but obviously, as General Abizaid has pointed out and our ambassador, Zal Khalilzad, we’re heading toward that. Now having said that, the fact is that we must do all we can to work with the president of Iraq to prevent it, or to hold it down.
The idea, somehow, that civil war means that we leave is a non- starter, because Iraq’s physical integrity is important. By that I mean, if Iraq deteriorates and Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds begin picking up partners in other countries, then we have a conflagration that dwarfs anything which is occurring presently in the deteriorating problems of Iraq.
BLITZER: There’s a potential for a horrible situation to become even much worse.
BLITZER: That’s what you’re saying.