Why We Must Stay in Iraq (or Not)

by Harry Browne

December 24, 2004         

On Thursday the daily column of Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today, advocated getting out of Iraq sooner, rather than later.

This provoked hundreds of emails. Here are some that were reported in Editor & Publisher, together with my comments.

A.P. Oliver, commander USN (ret.): "To withdraw troops from Iraq would qualify as the greatest surrender in history and invite direct attacks here in this country and ultimately drastically change the way we live."

Let me see if I have this right. Hundreds if not thousands more Americans will have to die, thousands more Iraqis will have to die, and we at home will have to cough up hundreds of billions of dollars more out of our pockets because a thoughtless, insensitive President decided to invade a foreign country without having the good sense to personally check the evidence justifying the invasion.

Withdrawing from Iraq would not be "the greatest surrender in history." The greatest surrender already has occurred when we surrendered to the federal government the power to sacrifice our lives and eat away our sustenance when we allowed one man to put this nation in such jeopardy.

Michael Bustamente, Sterling Height, MI: "Tell you what. We leave and the sanctimonious jerks like you and your Free Press, you go there and stay after we leave."

Sanctimonious = Not wanting to see people die for no purpose other than to prevent a delusional President from having to admit he made a mistake.

Cliff Hair: "Never heard of Al Neuharth! What makes him so special and who gives a damn what he thinks?"

Apparently you do.

Alec Jones, Hoover, AL: "Nothing more than a unilateral withdrawal would encourage those who are our enemies and wish to do us harm."

Do you really believe that keeping American troops in Iraq would discourage "our enemies" and cause them to stop wishing to "do us harm." Perhaps George Bush isn’t the most delusional man in America.

Bob Armstrong, Clayton, CA: "When the Iraqi elections are held and they demonstrate a willingness to fight for freedom this will all be worth it."

You mean it will justify the deaths of upwards of 100,000 Iraqis and Americans probably none of whom considers an election in Iraq to be a worthwhile reward for losing his life? And since you consider it will all be worth it, are you now on your way to Iraq to offer your life? Or is it worth only other people’s lives?

Pat Giuffra: "I have asked the hotels to not deliver USA Today anymore to my room because of this type of distorted news reporting that it is putting out these days."

Neuharth's column was presented not as "reporting," but as opinion. As to "distorted news reporting," are you referring to the acres of newsprint in 2002 and 2003 that were devoted to repeating verbatim the administration’s "evidence" that Iraq had WMDs, mobile labs producing bio-chemical weapons, aluminum tubes that could be used only to produce nuclear bombs, unmanned planes that could drop WMDs on the eastern United States, enriched uranium being bought in Africa, and Al-Qaeda training camps? Or are you referring to the few commentators who refused to believe that the administration knew what it was talking about?

Rand Oertle: "We didn't get out of World War II until the job was finished. The defeat of Germany and Japan took years. Now they are our allies."

And 292,131 Americans died so that the Soviet Union could dominate half of Europe.

Travis Snyder: "He dishonors those who died by inviting American surrender."

You’re right. Let’s honor the dead by letting thousands more Americans die.

Travis Snyder again: "This is no Vietnam. We can never have another Vietnam."

No, we can’t. We’ve renamed it Iraq.