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How to Leave Iraq

Speaking of the weird Iraq debate inside the Democratic primary, one notable characteristic has been a tendency by some of the candidates to plead logistical incapacity to leave quickly. As Lawrence J. Korb, Max Bergmann, Sean Duggan, and Peter Juul argue in a Center for American Progress report, this is basically BS: “It is certainly possible to conduct a rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces, in perhaps as short a time as three months if the U.S. military (in the words of Iraq war veteran and military analyst Phillip Carter) were to effectively conduct an ‘invasion in reverse.’” That said, I also tend to agree with them that a somewhat more measured pace of redeployment would be wiser, if only because it can be conducted in a more orderly manner:

Deciding between a swift or extended redeployment, however, is a false dilemma. While both options are logistically feasible, this report will demonstrate that an orderly and safe withdrawal is best achieved over a 10- to 12-month period. Written in consultation with military planners and logistics experts, this report is not intended to serve as a playbook for our military planners but rather as a guide to policymakers and the general public about what is realistically achievable. A massive, yet safe and orderly redeployment of U.S. forces, equipment, and support personnel is surely daunting — but it is well within the exceptional logistical capabilities of the U.S. military.

The full report is here in PDF and here’s an MP3 of a conference call on the report.

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