Argument: An early withdrawal from Iraq would embolden terrorists

Issue Report: Withdrawing from Iraq

Supporting quotes

Osama bin Laden would gain a flood of new recruits inspired by the successful ‘jihad’ in Iraq”
  • 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.”[29] 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.”
  • Greg Reeson. “Iraq: The Consequences of Withdrawal”. American Chronicle. October 09, 2006 – “Finally, Islamic extremists from all over the world have traveled to Iraq to join the battle against the United States and the west. Al-Qaeda in Iraq and various other fundamentalist groups, while constituting a minority of the Iraqi insurgency, are determined to take advantage of the current chaos to wage war on anyone, Iraqis included, who opposes the formation of an Islamic state. The withdrawal of American troops from Iraq would embolden the jihadists, who would then take advantage of the power vacuum to promote Islamic rule similar to that of the Taliban in Afghanistan.”
[…]a withdrawal would be presented across the Arab world as a defeat of the American infidels by the jihadists who would inflate the glory of victory and attract many new followers.”