So apparently, Rumsfeld is considering withdrawing from Iraq as early as 2006. There are several competing explanations for this newfound willingness to leave Iraq. Most importantly, one must keep in mind that any “withdrawl” won’t actually be a total withdrawl — even Rumsfeld’s plan calls for 60,000 U.S. troops to remain in Iraq.
So, on to the explanations:
- Domestic politics: the war in Iraq is regarded as unwinnable, with a majority of the populace calling for withdrawl, so conservative politicians in the executive branch are responding to the feedback loop. The Brooklyn Bridge in New York is also reportedly up for sale.
- Party politics: the war in Iraq is devisive enough to cause splits in the Republican Party, which is dangerous to the Bush administration as a split Republican Party would be less willing to put up with their bullshit. I find this explanation lacking, because whatever else the Republicans may be, they are certainly Republicans — and thus willing to stand with the President on the other important issues: taxes, trade, social programs, and law enforcement. I don’t imagine that a disagreement over the exact character of the war in Iraq would lead to a mass defection of Republicans to the Democractic Party, and even less so to Republicans suddenly voting to rescind the tax breaks for the wealthy, increase the minimum wage (which they may have to do anyways), cut the $450bn military budget, legalize (soft) drugs, extend the time limits on welfare and unemployment benefits, or institute a (subsidized) national health care system.
- Pre-existing plans and military neccessity: securing the “arc of instability” (which is effectively, if not intentionally, “putting the majority of the world’s energy resources under direct U.S. control before the peak-oil crunch”) requires the military have the manpower and resources to do so. “Leaving” Iraq in an unstable state for the meantime is acceptable in order to take Iran. I personally would be unsurprised if such an invasion didn’t cause a Chinese military response (they invade Iran in order to liberate it from the Americans, who invaded to liberate it from the Iranians — and around we go). Put simply, this is the logic of the corporate world transferred to government: swallow as much as you can as fast as you can, and digest it later. This seems to explain (to my mind, at least), the recent conservative willingness to “withdraw” from Iraq.
Which isn’t to say that opponents of the Bush junta should oppose withdrawl — but rather that they should avoid any half-measures which aren’t actually withdrawls, and (duh) not allow any future invasions of Iran.