Growing number of national security specialists who supported the toppling of Saddam Hussein are moving to a position unthinkable even a few months ago: that the large US military presence is impeding stability as much as contributing to it and that the United States should begin major reductions in troops beginning early next year.
So when liberals want to get the hell out they are wimps who want Saddam to be back in charge, but what is it when conservatives do it? A really tough cut and run? The worlds most macho bug-out? Bush is going to hold elections in Iraq on Jan 30, call them a monumental success, freedom is on the march, and then pull the troops out. Just watch:
Said Ken Adelman, a member of the Defense Policy Board who predicted the Iraq war would be a "cakewalk": "If there is a [stable] Iraqi government after January you can withdraw. I would be OK with that."
What comes after that?
If U.S. troops leave Iraq too soon, the country will simply fall apart. The Kurdish areas in the north may muddle along, unless Turkey intervenes to protect the Turkman minority or to block the emergence of a Kurdish state. The Shiite areas in the south might establish an Iranian-backed theocratic statelet that would establish order. But the middle of the country would erupt in bloody civil war and turn into something like Somalia.
What would that mean? If Iraq were to sink to Somalia-level child mortality rates, one result by my calculation would be 203,000 children dying each year. If Iraq were to have maternal mortality rates as bad as Somalia's, that would be 9,900 Iraqi women dying each year in childbirth.