Saturday, May 01, 2004

Getting out of Iraq

David Corn interviews Ambassador Joseph Wilson (the last acting U.S. ambassador to Iraq), and poses to him the question of what "should be done in the coming weeks and months." Wilson's response: he says, "Given the way the situation is deteriorating, if we don't get our arms around it pretty quickly, the debate is going to turn serious over the question of abandoning the whole project."

And then Wilson mentions a former NSA chief who's already in that camp:

For example, retired general William Odom, the former chief of the National Security Agency, is now advocating getting out of Iraq and leaving it to the Europeans to get more involved. In a way, I like that as a negotiating position. You say this so the Europeans come to realize that their interests are at stake. We need to have a new sense that collective, international interests are at stake in Iraq. I've always thought the Europeans would eventually recognize that their interests are in play in Iraq. Still, they need to be encouraged to participate fully in the reconstruction. We have not done that. And there are a number of things that need to be done. We need to offer them a significant place at the table. Senator Joe Biden has talked about a multilateral board of directors for Iraq under a general U.N. rubric, bringing together countries that are prepared to put their military and economic assets into play.

( has more links today to stories about Odom.)

Gen. Zinni, on the other hand, in the interview I cited earlier today, makes it clear from a military perspective as to why they can't just cut and run--not because it would be bad for Iraqis, but because the troops would be more vulnerable to attack as their force level dwindles: "At the point where you have, let's say, 30,000 U.S. troops in there, they may be far more vulnerable than they are obviously now."

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