Iraq: Time to let go

Consider the data in the following table of Iraq's recent wars and its population at the time:

A couple of things are apparent.  One is that Iraq has a lot of wars, mostly of its own choosing.  Second is that Iraq's wars, in a sense, don't seem to kill many people.  Its population is up fivefold in two generations.  Population growth is galloping along at 3.4 percent per annum, which means that Iraq's population is doubling every 21 years.  Much the same is true of the rest of the Middle East.  The newly created population doesn't have anything useful to do, such as growing food.  The countries of the Middle East are at the limit of their potential agricultural output, and imported grain keeps the process going.

This situation can't go on forever and so won't.  Nobody can describe a pleasant way that this situation can end, though.  We can withdraw from Iraq from time to time, but everyone acknowledges that the situation in Afghanistan will revert to what it was pre-2001 almost immediately when we pull out.

There is an indication that at least the Marine Corps has begun to understand the futility of wars in the sandbox.  General Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, recently said:

"If you look at the security situation in that part of the world, is it any better than it was at 9/11?" Neller said. "We've been there for 17 years next September. So we keep doing the same thing, getting the same result, and we're still unhappy. Maybe we need to change something';

...and...

"The problem is, we may not be interested in the Middle East, but they seem to be fascinated with us." and "as long as there are groups there that threaten the United States, there will have to be some presence." That last point raises the justification often cited for staying in the Middle East – that fighting them there is better than fighting them here. There is another choice and that is not having anything to do with them. The first effort in that direction was the President's Executive Order 13769, also known as the travel ban. Eventually the scale and scope of that order will be widened to keep all the unhappy and unpleasant peoples of the planet far from these shores.

General Neller also noted that who and where to fight is not always a unilateral choice.  Thus, he would rather redeploy forces to the Pacific, where the biggest threats are.

The Kurds are not wonderful people in themselves.  They are simply the least worst of the peoples of the region.  To stay in the Middle East is to own the problem of what happens when the region's population growth is halted by a starvation event.  When that happens, we want to be able to keep eating bacon on our ketogenic diets rather than ship off grain on a fool's errand.

David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare.

Consider the data in the following table of Iraq's recent wars and its population at the time:

A couple of things are apparent.  One is that Iraq has a lot of wars, mostly of its own choosing.  Second is that Iraq's wars, in a sense, don't seem to kill many people.  Its population is up fivefold in two generations.  Population growth is galloping along at 3.4 percent per annum, which means that Iraq's population is doubling every 21 years.  Much the same is true of the rest of the Middle East.  The newly created population doesn't have anything useful to do, such as growing food.  The countries of the Middle East are at the limit of their potential agricultural output, and imported grain keeps the process going.

This situation can't go on forever and so won't.  Nobody can describe a pleasant way that this situation can end, though.  We can withdraw from Iraq from time to time, but everyone acknowledges that the situation in Afghanistan will revert to what it was pre-2001 almost immediately when we pull out.

There is an indication that at least the Marine Corps has begun to understand the futility of wars in the sandbox.  General Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, recently said:

"If you look at the security situation in that part of the world, is it any better than it was at 9/11?" Neller said. "We've been there for 17 years next September. So we keep doing the same thing, getting the same result, and we're still unhappy. Maybe we need to change something';

...and...

"The problem is, we may not be interested in the Middle East, but they seem to be fascinated with us." and "as long as there are groups there that threaten the United States, there will have to be some presence." That last point raises the justification often cited for staying in the Middle East – that fighting them there is better than fighting them here. There is another choice and that is not having anything to do with them. The first effort in that direction was the President's Executive Order 13769, also known as the travel ban. Eventually the scale and scope of that order will be widened to keep all the unhappy and unpleasant peoples of the planet far from these shores.

General Neller also noted that who and where to fight is not always a unilateral choice.  Thus, he would rather redeploy forces to the Pacific, where the biggest threats are.

The Kurds are not wonderful people in themselves.  They are simply the least worst of the peoples of the region.  To stay in the Middle East is to own the problem of what happens when the region's population growth is halted by a starvation event.  When that happens, we want to be able to keep eating bacon on our ketogenic diets rather than ship off grain on a fool's errand.

David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare.