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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

21 November 2005

Leaving Iraq already?

Paul Krugman writes in today’s New York Times: “The only way to justify staying in Iraq is to make the case that stretching the U.S. army to its breaking point will buy time for something good to happen. I don't think you can make that case convincingly. So Mr. Murtha is right: it's time to leave.”

Implicit in the argument by Representative John Murtha is that the American presence is fuelling the insurgency and that when America departs, the potency of the insurgency will subside. I have my doubts. It would be like saying that after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, Afghanistan would return to normalcy. The insurgency might lack an obvious enemy after an American withdrawal, but it will regain its ability to fight, as the enemy will be weaker now.

It is difficult to forecast what path Iraq will follow were American troops to leave soon, but it is premature to suggest that the American presence is contributing only to the problem and not the solution.

References:
Paul Krugman, “Time to Leave,” New York Times, 21 Nov 05

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