UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Analsysis: Going Long in Iraq

Council on Foreign Relations

October 3, 2007
Prepared by: Greg Bruno

Blunt pronouncements of a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq, once a highly sensitive subject, are now commonplace. Some Iraqi officials say they envision U.S. troops in their country for “a considerable amount of time” (AP), while others are calling for an extended security agreement (TIME) with the United States. In Washington, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told the Senate Appropriations Committee on September 26 that he also predicts a long-term presence in Iraq. Gates, who has scored a quiet victory (Newsweek.com) in the debate over troop withdrawals, says up to five combat brigades (NYT) could remain in Iraq for years to “go after al-Qaeda in Iraq and help the Iraqi forces.”

The pronouncement is not universal. Democrats in Congress continue to push for withdrawal; House lawmakers on October 2 vowed to stall President Bush’s $190 billion war funding request unless it is linked to a redeployment plan (Reuters). Yet some presidential candidates are already talking as if a lasting—although slimmed-down—presence in Iraq is a foregone conclusion. During a presidential debate in New Hampshire last month, none of the top three Democrats would promise a full-scale military withdrawal by 2013 if elected. Only Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson offered withdrawal timelines (Newshour). “The key question” is no longer whether the United States will remain militarily involved in Iraq, says the Washington Post, “but what size, mission, and length” the next administration’s build-up will be.

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, likely contributed to acknowledgement of a longer time horizon on Iraq.

Read the rest of this article on the cfr.org website.

Copyright 2007 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list