A political pullout would send a dangerous signal of weakness and fecklessness to both our allies and enemies”.
Daniel Byman. “Iraq and the Global War on Terrorism”. Columbia International Affairs Online. July 2007 – “The first counterterrorism blow would be to U.S. credibility. Foreign jihadists would tout a pullout as a victory, contending that the United States left under fire. Already, bin Ladin has taunted the United States, declaring that it is “embroiled in the swamps of Iraq.” Even though their actual role in the fighting was minimal, foreign jihadists made similar claims with regard to the Soviets in Afghanistan and the United States in Somalia. Iraq is a far bigger conflict than any the United States previously waged in the Middle East. And, because jihadists have played such a significant part in Iraq, they would declare, with much fanfare, that our departure was a major victory for their cause.
Bin Ladin’s “success” would prove that the United States would withdraw whenever it faces considerable resistance. Jihadists will thus be encouraged to foment unrest against other governments they oppose and against U.S. interventions such as Afghanistan and the Balkans. The lesson would be clear: push the United States and it will fold.”
CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen said in 2007 that a rapid withdrawal of all U.S. troops would hurt America’s image and hand al Qaeda and other terror groups a propaganda victory that the United States is only a “paper tiger”.