Argument: The war in Iraq is a central front in the war on Islamic fundamentalism

Issue Report: Withdrawing from Iraq

Supporting quotes

  • Henry A. Kissinger. “Withdrawal is not an option”. International Herald Tribune. January 18, 2007 – “The war in Iraq is part of another war that cuts across the Shiite-Sunni issue: the assault on the international order conducted by radical groups in both Islamic sects. Functioning as states within states and by brutal demonstrations of the inability of established governments to protect their populations, such organizations as Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Mahdi Army in Iraq and the al-Qaeda groups all over the Middle East seek to reassert an Islamic identity submerged, in their view, by Western values. Any enhancement of radical Islamist self-confidence therefore threatens all the traditional states of the region, as well as others with significant Islamic populations, from Indonesia through India to Western Europe. The most important target is the United States, as the most powerful Western country and the indispensable component of any attempt to build a new world order.
The disenchantment of the American public with the burdens it has borne largely alone for nearly four years has generated growing demands for some type of unilateral withdrawal, usually expressed as benchmarks to be put to the Baghdad government that, if not fulfilled in specific time frames, would trigger American disengagement.
But under present conditions, withdrawal is not an option. American forces are indispensable. They are in Iraq not as a favor to its government or as a reward for its conduct. They are there as an expression of the American national interest to prevent the Iranian combination of imperialism and fundamentalist ideology from dominating a region on which the energy supplies of the industrial democracies depend. An abrupt American departure would greatly complicate efforts to stem the terrorist tide far beyond Iraq”