As the Iraqi elections wound down, I took a quick survey of some of the left end of the blogosphere. And I noticed one recurring theme. In a nutshell (a singularly appropriate phrase here), it can be summed up thusly: can we bring the troops home now?
I’ve always believed that our troops will return from Iraq when three conditions are met: 1) Iraq has a stable, democratically-elected government; 2) Iraq has a security force capable of controlling the terrorists that seem hell-bent on causing as much carnage and may hem as they can; and 3) that Iraqi government asks us to leave.
Throughout our history, we have a habit of invading a country, liberating it, and sticking around, with the assent of that nation. We still have forces in places left over from the Spanish-American War, World War II, the Korean War, the first Gulf War, and the Balkans Adventure.
And those troops are, largely, welcomed by the host nations. In fact, the one time we’ve been asked to leave, we did so graciously — and the Philippines has quietly discussed our return on several occasions. On the other hand, our presence in Japan, Germany, and Korea is welcomed, to various degrees, by the governments.
We have a decided strategic interest in staying in Iraq, and we should attempt to persuade the new Iraqi government to allow us to stay. It would be in both our interests for the United States to keep a military presence in Iraq for the foreseeable future.
But if they ask us to leave, once those other two conditions are met, then we should. Period. And I think we will.
In the meantime, though, we still have those annoying voices on the Left, endlessly repeating their mantra about “bringing the troops home,” like annoying kids in the back seat with their endless queries of “are we there yet? Are we there yet? How much longer?”
And like those kids, as tempting as it is to turn around and smack them, we can’t. But we can, at least, yell back at them.