April 11, 2006


Gingrich at USD: Pull out of Iraq (MONICA LABELLE, April 11, 2006, argusleader.com)

Newt Gingrich, the former Republican Speaker of the House, told students and faculty at the University of South Dakota Monday that the United States should pull out of Iraq and leave a small force there, just as it did post-war in Korea and Germany.

"It was an enormous mistake for us to try to occupy that country after June of 2003," Gingrich said during a question-and-answer session at the school. "We have to pull back, and we have to recognize it."

Gingrich was at USD for the inaugural Edmund Burke Lecture, named after a man who is known as the father of modern conservatism. [...]

Gingrich spoke about the traits of great leaders such as George Washington, who listened to people to determine what course to take, whether in battle or in legislation.

"In the American model, power comes from God to you. We then loan it to the government," he said.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 11, 2006 12:15 PM

Was he at USD or on LSD?
"It was an enormous mistake for us to try to occupy that country after June of 2003," Our mistakes were to trust Turkey and to pull our punches with the Sunnis. We should have kept the Iraq Army in place or hammered the hell out of the Sunnis from the get go.

Posted by: Genecis at April 11, 2006 12:57 PM

The plan called for us to leave in '03 and we should have.

Posted by: oj at April 11, 2006 1:02 PM

"great leaders such as George Washington, who listened to people to determine what course to take" Isn't that called pandering nowadays?

In fact Washington determined the "right" course, then used his enormous persuasive power and moral authority to steer the people to his way of thinking. If Washington had listened to the "people", he would have surrendered to the Brits in Valley Forge. Statistically, less than one third of the people wanted to fight the Revolutionary War. One third were loyalists, one third were undecided. It is strange for Newt to make such a silly comment about Washington.

Posted by: ic at April 11, 2006 2:50 PM

The force in Germany wasn't that small. Add on what we had in Britain, Italy....it's no surprise Germany's economy started taking a hit when they A - started reunification and B we started moving our troops out at the same time.

Posted by: Sandy P at April 11, 2006 3:56 PM

In Korea we left a USA backed significant ROK army, a hardened DMZ and a strongly established government, a growing and no established insurgency. We still have 30K+ troops on site.Talk about apples and oranges.

I like Newt, but he's out in left field on this one.

Posted by: Genecis at April 11, 2006 4:27 PM

As some have been saying for months, an Imperial force on the order of that in Europe and Korea will do just fine.

The Imperial force must be large enough to stiffen the socii to the point of invincibility, while keeping them dependent upon it. Air power C3I and logistics, mostly.

It also serves as a "plate glass window," making an attack of the client state an attack on the United States, simply because a critical mass of Americans are in the line of fire.

Gingrich knows these things. By speaking of leaving a small force in Iraq, ". . .just as. . .in post-war Korea and Germany. . .," he is setting up the heads-I-win,-tails-you-lose arguement, whereby what is going to happen anyway satisfies both sides of the issue.

Hang around to see how McCain is the beneficiary of the gambit. It's like watching Michael Jordan or Diego Maradona. It's beautiful.

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 11, 2006 4:56 PM

We lost several opportunities after the fall of Baghdad.

1) We probably should have hammered the Sunni Triangle right afterwards to break the morale of the Baathists. It also would have discouraged Sadr and others.

2) We should have quickly established order in Baghdad. Such large scale looting made us look weak and gave our enemies opportunity.

3) We should have made very clear our stay would be short and departed in good order. This would have required better occupation planning and less hubristic notions on what we could accomplish ourselves.

The fate of Iraq was never in our hands, always in their own, and we should have acted accordingly.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at April 11, 2006 7:00 PM


We don't do things like #1 or #2, so we had to do #3. Instead we're leaving a couple years later. A mistake but in the long gaze of history a barely significant one.

Posted by: oj at April 11, 2006 7:15 PM

Leaving Mookie alive was a mistake. A Shi'a warlord who can upset the applecart is more dangerous than a Sunni, who would already be out of the loop politically, once the natural demographics took over. Plus, it would have let the Iranians know how serious we could be.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 11, 2006 11:54 PM

Shooting down a passenger jet told them that.

Posted by: oj at April 11, 2006 11:57 PM

Not then (it was a mistake) - but doing it tomorrow certainly would. Shooting down Ahmadinejad's plane would be even more impressive, followed by a gaslight call to the top mullahs.

Posted by: ratbert at April 12, 2006 11:00 AM


Posted by: oj at April 12, 2006 11:03 AM