May 21, 2013
The Road Out of Iraq Begins in Vietnam
Posted on Dec 24, 2008
By Scott Ritter
If this advice sounds defeatist, it is. There is no way to spin the reality that America will not “win” the war in Iraq. All we can hope for is to recognize the fact that the decision to invade was in truth more about empowering a neoconservative cabal in American politics than it was about achieving lasting change in the Middle East. “Regional transformation,” long the battle cry of those in the Bush administration who sought American global hegemony, was a smoke screen that used national security issues to achieve domestic political dominance.
Now that the American people have spoken, and Barack Obama has won the American presidency, it is time to reject with finality the policies of the neoconservative ideologues who got us into Iraq and embrace instead a new direction which has America working multilaterally to achieve a model of global cooperation based on genuine peace and stability, as opposed to one built on unilateral coercion and violence. If a policy seeking a “decent interval” permits American forces to be withdrawn from Iraq, achieving “peace with honor” in the process, then the Vietnam parallel will be most welcome. If it is true that “war in an extension of politics, by other means,” then the converse, in which politics, by any means, is the tool for retracting war, must also be correct.
Let us hope that Obama is able to contain and control the domestic American political environment so that the war in Iraq is “retracted” as soon as possible.
Scott Ritter was a U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998 and is the author of numerous books, including “Iraq Confidential” (Nation Books, 2005).
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