An Iraq Exit Strategy Some Ideas On How to Leave From Jim Wallis

While at the politics and spirituality conference we got to hear Wallis, Richard Rohr and Anne Lamott speak. They were also given time after their talks to answer questions from them audience. This gave a bit of a chance for the rest of us to interact a little with the speakers. On the morning Wallis spoke he was asked about an Iraq exit strategy and what ideas he had concerning it.

Wallis was hesitant to answer, and said that there will be no easy or clear cut way to exit Iraq (I appreciated his honesty when faced with such a difficult question).  He also said that if the US was going to end its “occupancy” it would at least need to make three promises to Iraq and the world. In other words here are some components of what the exit strategy should entail.

  1. No more permanent presence in Iraq.
  2. No priority on their oil.
  3. No monopoly on rebuilding Iraq.

I think one more feature should be added to the exit, as Wallis said, “Bush has made this presidency a failed Christian presidency,” and because of this, we as the church owe the world (in part through the mouth of the President) a worldwide apology for the wars, and the uprise in fear and terrorism we’ve experienced since our first attacks.

I am curious to find out what the thoughts are on these “components” and other methods that might be in order for leaving.

Published by Wess Daniels

Teacher, author, Quaker, ​and public theologian. Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College.

2 thoughts on “An Iraq Exit Strategy Some Ideas On How to Leave From Jim Wallis

  1. Wallis shows considerable insight into why the occupation won’t end soon. He has hit on 3 key reasons:

    1) We moved our troops from Saudi Arabia to Iraq–within striking distance of both Syria and Iran. Giving up those Iraqi bases would mean losing the staging ground for future invasions.

    2) This was the war that would pay for itself though the increased oil production American technology could bring to the Iraqi oil fields. Giving up a claim on Iraqi oil would require an admission that taxpayers are footing the bill for the war & subsequent occupation.

    3) Bush vowed that if the world didn’t support his invasion, the US could “go it alone.” Allowing others to participate would not only dilute the profits that some firms are making (from the US taxpayers who are paying for the rebuilding), but would give the lie to Bush’s claim. It would also undermine future efforts to “go it alone,” by providing an example of a failure of that policy.

    There is some notion that since we broke Iraq, all on our own, it is our duty to repair Iraq. But we don’t know how to do that. If we end the occupation, we are admitting that we can’t undo the damage we have done; as long as we stay there, we can pretend that we are in the process of making repairs and that tomorrow everything will be better.

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