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What do you think would happen if the U.S. withdrew troops from Iraq?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on May 3, 2007

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Photo of Steven Daigh

“I think that it would give the terrorists encouragement and give them the idea that the U.S. can be broken and waited out. All the sacrifices people have made would be in vain because we didn’t follow through.”

Photo of Clare Nderagakura

“I don’t think their government is strong enough to stand without our help, and although they have an army, I don’t think it can keep the peace without help. I know there are a lot of people who want their kids to come home but, unfortunately, it’s too soon.”

Photo of Ted Fay

“I think that Iran would take control of Iraq and kill off anyone who helped support our position.”

Photo of Paula Rose

“I think fewer people would be killed than if we stay. I doesn’t seem like anything productive is happening from us being there at this point.”


jonas 11 years ago

I don't think anyone has a damned clue what would really happen.

Hmmm. . . twice in a row for the no idea route. I must be slipping.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

And exactly when will Iraq ever be stable?

What if it's 10 years down the road and Iraq still isn't stable?

At some point, they have to decide to run their own country, without Daddy's help. With stability or not. We can't stay there forever, nor should we.

lubyloo 11 years ago

I really don't care what happens in Iraq. So many lives are being wasted for nothing in this endless war. The troops just need to come home. It's up to the Iraqis to stand up and implement order in their own country. That entire part of the world is messed up and always will be.

Crossfire 11 years ago

When we leave, Iraq will just be the wonderful happy place it was before. We will supply weapons who ever we want to control the oil. Probably the 'bin-laden klan. Bagdad will be renamed Enron-town. The rest of the happy folk will go back to what they were doing a hundred years ago.

paladin 11 years ago

Allot of young American's lives will be spared and they will be home with their families. In iRACK, there will be a period of tumult and violence for a time followed by stasis and a shaky stability, as has been their way for thousands of years, with no interference from the US of A. Autocratic or theocratic rule will emerge and keep the country in control under the leadership of someone as, or more, effective and efficient as Saddam Hussein, although he may well be, of necessity, more brutal. This is the way it has always been and the way it will be. The American invasion of iRACK only made everything much worse for everyone involved, them, us, and the world.

BigAl 11 years ago

I can't believe it!! I agree with right_thinker. I also concur with RC's post of 7:41.

Crossfire 11 years ago

1400 years of Mohammadism. March 2003 Shock and Awe. 2007 or 2008 GTFO. Does anybody really believe that what happened in just five years really matters?

Crossfire 11 years ago

Pywacket, Fewer dead. The sooner we're out the better.

Ceallach 11 years ago

Probably the same thing that happened after the Gulf War, mass murders, mass burial sites, little or no news coverage.

Bone777 11 years ago

Different tribes fighting and killing each other, when they are not trying to get even with us for the destruction we've done to their country.

Wait until we quit giving them targets on their own soil.

Linda Aikins 11 years ago

Good points. It seems as if posts have been down for the last two to three weeks. But maybe someone will get in a hot debate.

I can't think who that would be.



sgtwolverine 11 years ago

I believe TOB is the one who has proved himself to be psychic, so I think he should be the recognized authority on this question. Otherwise, it's just guessing.

trinity 11 years ago

i'd be happy.

ooooo but gee if we pull out of there, then does that mean that bushco will have to answer some really digging questions about 9-11, etc? and hey what ABOUT that third trade center building that collapsed, the hole in the pentagon not being in correlation with the type of hole a huge jet would make, cell phones working at 34,000 feet, etc? yes i've been watching loose change among other probing video. who are the real war criminals here?

beatrice 11 years ago

If we left Iraq, that would just give the green light for Saudi born muslim extremists to train in Afghanistan and come here and kill us with box cutters! So obviously we must leave our soldiers in Iraq. Geez!

bunnyhawk 11 years ago

Why isn't the question: What do you think is the best way to hold George Bush accountable for the deaths of so many Iraquis and Americans?????????????????????????????

Crossfire 11 years ago

George Bush accountable... Not Guilty By Reason Of Mental Defect.

Kathy Theis-Getto 11 years ago

bunnyhawk (Anonymous) says:

Why isn't the question: What do you think is the best way to hold George Bush accountable for the deaths of so many Iraquis and Americans?????????????????????????????

A trial in the Hague?

Ceallach 11 years ago

Casey Sheehan was 24. Is that living long enough?

Seems people have lost track of the fact that Casey volunteered for the services and did not share his mother's views on the war. So why disrespect your child's commitment to what he thought was right? Why use him as an example of why the country should not endeavor to finish the job he started and hoped to be part of its completion? Sheehan's activism did not start with the war in Iraq and will not end when we withdraw. I lost any respect I may have had for her when she decided to disrespect her son's ideals and his commitment to fighting terrorism in order to advance her own agenda.

beatrice 11 years ago

"So why disrespect your child's commitment to what he thought was right?"

Because he was dead wrong.

ms_canada 11 years ago

As far the Iraqi people are concerned, it might not make any difference as to the number of deaths daily, but I believe that the killing would end much sooner with no foreign troops around. The strongest side would win the battle and take over the country. Then a way down the road some western power would find another reason to meddle in the mid east as they have been doing for nearly 100 years and it would all be repeated until the oil runs out or the end of the world comes. ;o) One thing that I don't think will happen is that there will be more terror attacks in the continental USA.

Mkh 11 years ago

First of all this question is purely based in fantasy. We are not leaving Iraq! I don't know why I have to repeat myself over and over. Even if the Dems had their way it would only accomplish a troop reduction, not a complete withdrawl of all forces. Are you people really that gullable?

Do you really think we are going to let someone else step in and control Iraq's oil resources? Are you crazy? We haven't been spending Billions of dollars and thousands of lives to simply fold our hand and walk home. Some of you have not been paying very close attention. We have constructed over a dozen permanent military bases, Iraq will now serve as the home base for this ever expanding war.

Even if some Dem "savior" such as Obama got elected, I predict that one meeting with an Energy Task Force would send him completely backpeddling on his anti-war agenda. Once our leaders realize how critical controlling these few remaining resources are, they will realize we have no other choice. In the years between 2001 and 2003 this country was at a historic crossroads and we Crossed the Rubicon and will never be able to go's too damn late! Welcome to the Energy Crisis, we're going to deal with it in blood.

Bush/Cheney are fully aware that oil deposits are dissapearing and that if the US is going to sustain it's consumption econmy beyond the next decade they must control the Middle East.

Withdrawl? Give me a freaking break...I'm sorry so many people woke up fours years too late, but there is no going back to a peaceful foriegn policy, ever.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

And you really think, b3, that if terrorists decided to attack this country again, that we have any kind of framework in place to stop that?


Besides, our continued presence in Iraq creates even more hate toward our country, and RAISES the possibility of more terrorist attacks here.

Crossfire 11 years ago

If we are not going to leave at least we could make it a fit place to stay. I think first they need a brewery... And sports, football would be good... Sports bar... Some fast cars... Girls in shorts... If you had all that, why blow youself up?

guardBack 11 years ago

Yes, if we pull our troops out of the war zone, there will be fewer American causalities, but that is pretty obvious.

Full-scale civil war? What makes any of you folks think that our troops aren't in the middle of that now? Most bombs (particularly the ones where the bombers use two bombs - A smaller one to cause damage and draw out emergency personnel, followed by a second, larger bomb to inflict maximum human causalities) are targeting ethnic-specific areas of Baghdad. Shiite and Sunni militias have been kidnapping and murdering for months. I would even wager that most of the US troops who are killed are targeted by terrorists from outside Iraq, most likely from places like Syria and Iran. These are two nations whose governments are based on Anti-Western, and especially anti-American, hatred. They LOVE the conflict in Iraq to keep their people from rebelling against them. In effect, President Bush will likely achieve the exact opposite of his goals. He has made Americans at home and abroad less safe than they were prior to 9/11.

Additionally, there has NEVER been any evidence to suggest a good reason for invading Iraq. Russia, China, Israel, India, and Pakistan have WMDs and Iran and North Korea are on the verge of getting nukes as well. Why did we invade Iraq then?

Crossfire 11 years ago

...don't forget all the newk-u-lar weapons in the crypt.

guardBack 11 years ago

Was it to instill democracy? Well, then we've failed. The government that we step up is crumbing to dust. Half of the most popular religious leaders have left the government, or are on the verge of leaving. It doesn't matter when the US leaves. Whether it's 6 months, 6 years (unlikely given that President Bush is all but handing the 2008 election to the Democrats) there WILL be a full-scale civil war, if we're not already there.

Nothing we have done has made life better for the Iraqi people either. No public works installed, no infrastructure rebuilt. Iraq produces enough oil to make $2 billion a month, and yet their economy is paralyzed from internal violence and intra-governmental discord. Violence was under control when Saddam was in charge. Saddam was a brutal, tyrannical dictator. But perhaps that was it took to keep the nation at peace with these three 3 different ethnic groups. Extremist Shiites hate Sunnis and want to kill them all. Extremists Sunnis hate Shiites. We charged into a room full of time-bombs, guns blazing, and once we had destroyed the only thing keeping the bombs from ticking, we declared victory. And now we're surprised that things aren't going well.

Invading a nation that is using 1970's era Soviet tanks and has almost no air force is not the hard part. Keeping a nation full of people who hate each other from killing each other is. This should have been seen from the beginning.

This will go down as the most massive foreign policy failure in US history, worse than Vietnam, worse than Korea. And honestly, we're all responsible for it. Whatever happens in Iraq over the next 2 decades is utter and completely our nation's fault.

jonas 11 years ago

""everyone that lives long enough experiences losses, not everyone gets book deals at the expense of those lost. In my opinion it it Cindy who is the a$$hole."

Casey Sheehan was 24. Is that living long enough?

I notice you don't address what your response would be if it was your kid:have you lived long enough to chalk it up to "experience" of loss?"

I love it! Not only do you totally not address the original idea, that Cindy Sheehan profits off of the attention her son's death has brought her, not only do you then throw in a totally irrellevent assertation to the points at hand, that is entirely an emotional argument, devoid of reason, you then attack someone for not addressing your point. That's wonderful. So wonderful I'll deign to answer your question. If it was me, I'd mourn in private, respecting the wishes of my son. I certainly wouldn't start franchinsing myself for my loss.

I'm so glad you're back. There aren't many other leftys on the board that match up with the foolishness so frequently dished out by the rightys. I was afraid I was going to get stuck with just criticizing the rightys again.

paladin 11 years ago

Mkh is spot-on. The US of A must control the Mid-east oil supply in order to control the global economy in competition with China. This to sustain our American lifestyle. Decadent and pathetic as it is, that is the truth. All the deaths and destruction are sacrifices made for the maintenance of our materialism and consumption and wealth and sloth until, at some point, it is impossible to sustain.

Janet Lowther 11 years ago

Civil war.

Of course that was going to happen whenever Saddam fell, if he wasn't kicked out by someone at least as ruthless as he was.

Anyone who knew anything about the middle east should have told the "Decider" that foreign intervention would be a disaster.

The loss of this war was destined the moment the decision to invade was made, because the only way a foreign invader could possibly win would be to be even more harsh and repressive than Saddam was: Americans attacked? level the neighborhood and kill everyone in it. Unfortunately, even our all-volunteer force would mutiny at orders like that. (As well they should.)

Mkh 11 years ago

"Americans attacked? level the neighborhood and kill everyone in it. Unfortunately, even our all-volunteer force would mutiny at orders like that. (As well they should.)"

Actually I think you just described how the Marines finally "won" the Battle of Fallujah...and as far as I know there was no "mutiny", Marines do what their told.

james bush 11 years ago

Those friendly to the USA would be killed and Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy would get drunk together while celebrating their lunacy.

Staci Dark Simpson 11 years ago

I think Iraq would become the new hot vacation spot. Think of it, plenty of sand, lots of out of control people, many buildings now have skylights, it would be amazing. Kind of like spring break.

No really I think less troops would die but more Iraqis would. Iran would just take over and have a bigger country with more people that hate the US. Iraq isn't strong enough to support their own gov't but that isn't our job to be the worlds policeman. Let the insurgents blow each other up and praise Allah

Linda Aikins 11 years ago

I don't know, TOB. If you keep repeating your same post, I may be right after all!

But we have the after lunch slump now. I'd guess you have the win here.

drewdun 11 years ago

"Those friendly to the USA would be killed and Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy would get drunk together while celebrating their lunacy"

Thanks for that. More intelligent AND timely commentary from the right.

wellsj 11 years ago

1)Full scale civil war in Iraq 2) A stengthening of Iran, Syria, and other Islamic nations. 3) Within 3 years and increase of terrorist activity here in America 4) WW3 within 5 years as Hezbollah puunds Isreal with rockets 5) Israel retaliates, America is drawn in 6) Mexico makes ties with China and Russia as they find their hatred for Israel is so great they can't support USA 7) USA sees the threat of China or Russia invading USA via Mexico. USA attacks Mexico. ESCALATION OF FULL SCALE WAR. Atomic war a possibility. 8) Death Toll- 1,000,000 innocent Iraqi civillians as we pull out of Bagdad. 500,000 palestinians and jews in the hezbollah provoked war. 10 million Americans due to atomic casualties and military campaigns. 50 million chinese. 30 million Russians. Mexico will be a blood bath. 100,000,000 Islamists will die in the name of Allah. Then another 500,000,000 people will die as a result of political upheavel, economic collapse, and disease. And guess who will pay th highest price. It will be the poor countires as it has always been. ARE YOU PEOPLE STARTING TO REALIZE WHAT IS AT STAKE HERE. STOP LISTENING TO THE LEFT WING NUTS. THEY PROMISE YOU THINGS THEY CAN'T DELIVER.

del888 11 years ago

I thought it was already 'Mission Accomplished'. I think if we pull out, Enron will go bankrupt. We need to get the ground troops out of there and bring in the Air Force and some big ol' bombs and clean the place up.

Ceallach 11 years ago

Ceallach - I cannot understand this point of view:why does she not get to exercise her freedom of speech? You don't have to agree with her. But to say that because Casey volunteered, his mom should shut-up and tow the line is laughable, and shows a basic misunderstanding of what this country is SUPPOSED to be about. It's the FIRST amendment for a reason.

scene, that's the beauty of it . . she says what she wants to say . . I say what I want to say. I did not say (and should not be quoted as saying) she should "shut-up and tow the line." However, just because she has a right to exploit her son for her personal agenda doesn't mean she has the right to my respect. That same amendment allows me to vent my frustration at her actions.

Ceallach 11 years ago

Py, not everyone thinks the 24 year old was the one who was hoodwinked. Sheehan's varied protestations predate her son's death. Mother's hearts aside, most 24 year olds are not children. That young man had access to more than one point of view before he decided to take that path. I mourn for every fallen man and woman in this conflict and would like to see everyone brought home, the sooner the better. My problem with Sheehan is not based on a belief that wave after wave of our young people should be sacrificed to this war. Far from it! I simply think she is an opportunist to the nth degree.

News_to_me 11 years ago

Just pull them out of the hot spots and let the Iraqis settle it themselves. Why should it be our soldiers standing around on street corners with targets on their backs and wading into a civil war until they're neck deep in it? Thanks for stabilizing the region. HA!

jonas 11 years ago


I suppose, but it's got to be better than making up such a rediculously unlikely progression to human annihilation, and then claiming that it is anything other than crap you just made up.

ms_canada 11 years ago

Oh no!!! Starbucks on Mass will close??? For shame, for shame.

sgtwolverine 11 years ago

Okay, I just need to say one thing: let's stop saying that Cindy Sheehan is still grieving or mourning. Her son was killed three years ago. I don't mean to sound heartless, but it's healthy to stop grieving after a while. Let's say she's upset about her son's death, or something like that, but let's not say she's grieving or mourning.

paladin 11 years ago

The War on Terror=? Will someone please explain what this means? Who's it against, how is it waged, and how is it won? What's the mission? Is it a matter of being told one thing or another and believing what you are told? National purpose? National defense? What?

News_to_me 11 years ago

possessionannex-Rumsfeld didn't have a plan.

Pilgrim-I was just thinking the other day how much Bosnia was like Iraq. Oh yeah, the oil.

anonimiss 11 years ago

The US will never get out of Iraq. The Republicans feel that it is necessary to fight terrorists in a place other than here, and the Democrats feel that it is necessary to keep reminding everybody of how the 'Republicans' (even though they had the same intelligence and a vast majority came to the same conclusions) screwed up.

anonimiss 11 years ago

And I have to agree with Steven at the top about terrorism being encouraged. The whole mindset of these groups is that if you blow enough stuff up and kill enough people, the US will do whatever you want them to do. We've proved that in Somalia, and we're close to doing it again. If the US does leave before Iraq is stable, watch out for a dramatic increase in terrorism all over the civilized world.

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

Support the The Troops - Bring Them Home - Pay Vets Their disability - Provides All Vets The Care Need - Fix The Vets Hospital - GW is adding plenty of new taxes the longer this war goes on cuz illegal wars cost big bucks - War does not come for free - Support the The Troops - Bring Them Home

Two Trillion Dollar War:,2763,1681119,00.html ==================================== Trillion Dollar War Chart ================================== As for the real costs of the war, they could hardly be clearer. Targeted for cutbacks in federal money are virtually all social programs--Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps, housing, job training and child care, education and student loans, environmental protection, public transportation, science research, even veterans' benefits and school funding for children of military personnel.

Even as Iraq moves into a sectarian civil war, four big oil companies are on the verge of locking up its massive, profitable reserves, known to everyone in the petroleum industry as "the prize."

The War in Iraq Costs :

See the cost in your community


Yes withdrawing all american soldiers and american mercenaries would bring loved ones back home to take care of their own. Yes for alternative fuels today.

drewdun 11 years ago

"But, but, but:

It was SO humanitarian to do exactly that in Boznia. But because that was a Demorat president's decision, the looney left embraced it completely. The party affiliation of President Bush is the only difference.

Pathetic." - Pilgrim

And if I recall correctly, it was the GOP who was then calling for timelines to extricate our troops from Bosnia. Oh, and one more thing....take a guess how many US troops died in combat in Bosnia? ZERO. That's right, zero. I'd say the party affiliation of Bush has less to do with the 3350+ soldiers that have died and the countless Iraqis. But thanks for letting everyone know that you think in such highly partisan lines; in all honesty, only someone as intellectually dishonest as you and the rest of your right-wing ilk on here could ever say with a straight face that the (R) next to Bush's name has nothing to do with why you still blindly support him. Now THAT'S pathetic.

"Support terrorism. Vote the liberal line." - JLoh

More highly informed and thoughtful commentary from the right. Maybe he didn't consider the fact that terrorism was nonexistent in Iraq before the war, yet now accounts for over half of the acts of terrorism worldwide. Might want to rethink those drilled-into-the-head talking points and RW propaganda.

I also liked when a wingnut said over six hundred million people would eventually die as a direct result of our troops leaving Iraq. Good Lord - you can almost feel the desperation and fanaticism growing daily in the RWers' posts here. Sad, really. Its easy to see that the only thing that really matters to them is making sure the Republican Party doesn't take a deadly, realignment-inducing hit on its credibility, thus ruining their electoral chances for the foreseeable future. Having read so many of the RWers' posts on here, putting the health of the Republican Party ahead of the lives of our soldiers is not at all surprising, coming from that crowd.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 11 years ago

This war in Iraq is as fradulant as the Viet-Nam war that many of us survived. That war was started by Congress when some military types said the North Vietnamese Navy (HAH!) attacked two US Navy ships, the USS Turner Joy and USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin. They passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution which said "Time to go to war, we will show these g--ks they cannot "attack our Navy" (which is about 10,000 times larger than the "North Vietnamese Navy"). Later more accurate reporting revealed that the evidence the congress acted on to declare the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was mostly fraudulant. So it is with the Iraq war. GWB is as guilty of war crimes as another jerk Texan, Lyndon Johnson. Morale: Quit electing these gun-toting, blathering, phony character Texans. And although it will never happen, GWB should resign in shame for the waste of thousands of American lives, zillions of American dollars and resources to stick his nose into a centuries-old civil and religious war of idiots who think that when they die, they get a bunch of virgins. NOW we see what we got from hanging chads and store-bought politicans.

lovenhaight 11 years ago

Iraq is already in the midst of civil war, get our troops out and be prepared to deal with the consequences of stirring up a hornet's nest. Whatever Bush has done he has done with the backing of the American people because we have not elected people who have the backbone to stand up to him or his cronies, or the corporatocracy. The American public has not forced our government officials to notice that we are fed up. Even people who are in support of the war HAVE to see that it has been grossly mishandled. Cindy Sheehan is one of the few people who have actually stood up and made her voice heard. Its unfortunate that she has been pegged as the crazy, opportunistic mother of a dead soldier and maybe she is what they say she is, but at least she has the cajones to make some waves.

As for the inevitable next question of what we are supposed to do to thwart terrorist attacks on our soil...

Actually do something EFFECTIVE regarding security at home. Inspect the food supply. Inspect all cargo coming in to our ports. Stop fostering a sense of resentment and hatred for America by acting like an aggressor.

Heed Eisenhower's words about being wary of the military industrial complex. War is profitable for many people in this long as it is big business, we are going to find ways to start it.

Hold our elected representatives accountable.

Question the images we are shown.

Stop being blindly patriotic and realize that we have been a major agitator in the global community. Love this country for the opportunities it allows (most) of its inhabitants to have. Be hopeful for the future, because as Americans we have a huge potential to be a positive force for peaceful change.

Debate with people who don't share your views, and respect them for being willing to do so. Actually listen to what those people say, because the truth isn't generally found on the left or the right. It is usually somewhere in the middle.

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