Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

OK, time to think about staying in Iraq

I have a piece in the New York Times today that contends that we need to think about keeping at least 30,000 troops in Iraq for many years to come, instead of getting them all out at the end of next year. Yes, I know the SOFA (see page 15) would need to be reopened ...

Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy

I have a piece in the New York Times today that contends that we need to think about keeping at least 30,000 troops in Iraq for many years to come, instead of getting them all out at the end of next year. Yes, I know the SOFA (see page 15) would need to be reopened but I think this will happen. Do you know anyone who thinks that Iraqi forces will be able to stand on their own at the end of next year? Uh-huh, me neither.

As I note in the article, it doesn't make me happy to say it, because I think that invading Iraq was a huge mistake, perhaps the biggest error in the history of American foreign policy. I mean, invading a country pre-emptively on the basis of false information? That would get you thrown out of night court. But I think that staying beats the hell out of the alternatives. We've had too much rushing to failure in the Iraq war.

More on this tomorrow.

I have a piece in the New York Times today that contends that we need to think about keeping at least 30,000 troops in Iraq for many years to come, instead of getting them all out at the end of next year. Yes, I know the SOFA (see page 15) would need to be reopened but I think this will happen. Do you know anyone who thinks that Iraqi forces will be able to stand on their own at the end of next year? Uh-huh, me neither.

As I note in the article, it doesn’t make me happy to say it, because I think that invading Iraq was a huge mistake, perhaps the biggest error in the history of American foreign policy. I mean, invading a country pre-emptively on the basis of false information? That would get you thrown out of night court. But I think that staying beats the hell out of the alternatives. We’ve had too much rushing to failure in the Iraq war.

More on this tomorrow.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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