'Disengagement' and withdrawal of US troops

Various articles have discussed the consequences of withdrawing US troops from Iraq.

  • Options for Iraq: The Almost Good, The Bad and The Ugly (18 Oct 2006)

    Centre for Strategic and International Studies report on the options for US action in Iraq

  • Iraqi Liberation? Towards an integrated strategy (11 Dec 2005)

    Report by the Oxford Research Group, attempting to find a withdrawal strategy beyond "stay the course" or "cut and run". Recommends 7 elements to this strategy: increasing legitimacy for the Iraqi political process, international mediation, Iraqi control of security operations, removal of coalition forces, economic development, 'human security', and international security guarantees.

  • 'Exit Strategy, How to disengage from Iraq in 18 months' (Dec 2005)

    Essay by Barry Posen, International Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    "The United States needs a new strategy in Iraq and the Persian Gulf. The war is at best a stalemate; the large American presence now causes more trouble than it prevents. We must disengage from Iraq—and we must do it by removing most American and allied military units within 18 months. Though disengagement has risks and costs, they can be managed. The consequences would not be worse for the United States than the present situation, and capabilities for dealing with them are impressive, if properly employed. [...]"

    "[T]he expectation of an open-ended American presence lends internal and external political support to the insurgents and infantilizes the government and army of Iraq, producing at best a perpetual stalemate ... The United States must try another strategy while it still has the political and military resources necessary to influence the pattern of disengagement and the aftermath. "

  • 'National Strategy for Victory in Iraq' (30 Nov 2005)

    This "document articulates the broad strategy the President set forth in 2003 and provides an update on our progress as well as the challenges remaining". There also is a pdf version of the document

  • Up in the air (28 Nov 2005)

    Seymour Hersh examines the likely role of air power in Iraq as ground troops are withdrawn. He predicts that targets for air strikes will have to be chosen by Iraqi soldiers, and therefore that the air force will be manipulated to settle old disputes between Iraqi groups.

  • 'What would disengagement mean?' (22 Nov 2005)

    Article by Glen Rangwala commissioned by a group of UK parliamentarians.

    "If the only goal of the anti-war movement were the withdrawal of significant numbers of Coalition personnel from Iraq, it is likely that it would be able to think of itself as having achieved that goal in large part by the end of 2006. [...]"

    "However, it is important not to conflate the number of Coalition troops in Iraq with the extent of US-UK control over Iraq. The Coalition powers exercise control in various ways in Iraq, and intend to retain this control well past the reduction in troop numbers in 2006. With this in mind, it is more appropriate to consider the consequences and extent of disengagement, a broader concept that encompasses not only the military sphere but also the economic and political spheres, and not only those of troop withdrawal. "

  • What's wrong with cutting and running? (03 Oct 2005)

    Former NSA director William Odom attempts to refute objections to an immediate removal of US troops from Iraq

  • 'Precedents, Variables, and Options in Planning a U.S. Military Disengagement Strategy from Iraq' (Oct 2005)

    Monograph by Dr. W. Andrew Terrill, Dr. Conrad C. Crane, of the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. Available as a pdf file

    "The authors view the empowerment of a viable Iraqi central government and a security force to defend its authority as vital to the future of that country, but also suggest that there are severe constraints on the potential for the United States to sustain its military presence in that country at the current level. They conclude that the United States must be prepared to withdraw from Iraq under non-optimal conditions and that the chief U.S. goals should be to devise an exit strategy for Iraq that focuses on bolstering Iraqi government legitimacy even if this does not involve creating a Western style democracy."

  • Strategic Redeployment (29 Sept 2005)

    Lawrence Korb and Bruce Katulis argue for a gradual redeployment of US troops out of Iraq and into other hotspots. Troops would initially move out of urban areas, would focus on training, border security, logistical and air support, anti-terrorist operations, and serving as advisors to Iraqi units.

  • 'Iraq: The Logic of Disengagement' (Feb 2005)

    Article by Edward N. Luttwak in Foreign Affairs. (Subscription required)

    "Summary: The best strategy for the United States now in Iraq is disengagement. In a reversal of the usual sequence, the U.S. hand will be strengthened by withdrawal, and Washington might actually be able to lay the groundwork for a reasonably stable Iraq. Why? Because geography ensures that all other parties are far more exposed to the dangers of an anarchical Iraq than is the United States itself."

  • The third option in Iraq: a responsible exit strategy (2005)

    Article by Gareth Porter in the Fall 2005 issue of the Middle East Policy Council Journal