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Lieberman Says Phased Withdrawal Would Be ‘Road To Disaster,’ Iraqis Disagree

Last night on Hannity and Colmes, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said a phased withdrawal of American troops from Iraq beginning in the next four to six months would be “a road to disaster” and “basically the beginning of giving up on Iraq.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2006/11/liebermancutrun.320.240.flv]

Lieberman argued, “As bad as things are in Iraq today, they would be dramatically worse if we just pick up and leave.” Lieberman made two points to support this claim: 1) the violence in Iraq would get much worse if we withdrew, and 2) the Iraqi government would fall apart. The Iraqi people strongly disagree on both counts.

Iraqis Believe A Timetable Would Decrease Violence. 58 percent of Iraqis believe that if U.S.-led forces withdrew in the next six months violence in Iraq would decrease. Also, 61 percent of Iraqis say their day-to-day security would increase.

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Iraqis Believe A Timetable Would Strengthen Iraqi Government. 53 percent of Iraqis said a timetable for withdrawal would strengthen the Iraqi government; only 23 percent said it would weaken it, as Lieberman claims.

Full transcript:

HANNITY: And do you worry that your party may be wrong if they want to — if Barack Obama and Senator Levin want to cut and run? Are you going to stand in strong opposition to them?

LIEBERMAN: You bet I am. I mean, they’re now proposing that we begin a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq within the next four to six months. I think that would — that’s a road to disaster. That’s basically the beginning of giving up on Iraq. And as bad as things are in Iraq today, they would be dramatically worse if we just pick up and leave.

You know, Sean, last week, when General Abizaid was before the Senate Armed Services Committee, on which I’m privileged to serve, I asked him, What would be the effect on the sectarian violence if we began a withdrawal in four to six months, regardless of what’s happening on the ground? And he said it would become much worse.

And then Ambassador Satterfield from the State Department was there. And I said, I know some of the people that want us to begin a withdrawal in a time certain think that’s the only way we can get the Iraqi government to do what they want to do, to take control of their destiny. I asked Satterfield, What’s your reaction to that?

He said, if we began to arbitrarily withdraw in the next four to six months, it will have exactly the opposite effect on the Iraqi government. They’ll begin to hedge their bets, because they’ll see us heading for the door, and they’ll see that what’s going to follow is out-and-out civil war, maybe even regional war.

We cannot let that happen. Iraq is now a central battlefield in the war on terrorism, and we’ve got to have a success strategy there.

HANNITY: I couldn’t agree with you more.