July 13th, 2007
11:54 AM ET
9 years ago

What if the U.S. pulled out of Iraq?

Watch this week’s “What If?” segment.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - What if the U.S. were to pull its troops completely out of Iraq?

That’s the question on many minds especially as a slew of Republican senators begin questioning the White House about U.S. involvement. Some experts warn that chaos would ensue while others say that Iraq is already a lost cause.

CNN Special Correspondent Frank Sesno examines what might happen if the U.S. pulled out of Iraq today.

  • TIME.com: The Iraq Debate That Wasn't

  • Filed under: Uncategorized
    soundoff (54 Responses)
    1. sean samis, milwaukee, WI

      Whether we say a decade or leave tomorrow, there will be a blood-bath. The question is: "how many will die BEFORE the blood-bath begins?" The sooner we leave, the fewer will die.

      sean s.

      July 13, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
    2. Fred Boston, Ma

      The same thing that happened when we got thrown out of Vietnam, nothing. We are the ones who are creating the chaos, we are the terrorists. When we leave the Iraqi freedom fighters will come together and begin to start repairing the damage we have done. Same thing the Vietnamese did.

      July 13, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
    3. LeftyLosey


      July 13, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
    4. grmpyolman

      We've already spent 250 billion dollars in Iraq. For what? If we had spent it here, maybe I wouldn't have to pay the copay on my prozac and viagra anymore..

      July 13, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
    5. Anonymous

      #1: American troops would stop dying on a daily basis.

      #2: Spending on the war would stop, to the tune of several billion $ saved daily.

      #3: Iraqis would quickly figure out their government sucks, chuck it out the door and start a new one.

      #4: Whatever they establish after that would be vehemently anti-Al Qaeda, so no "safe haven" for them.

      #5: PEACE. Imagine it.

      July 13, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
    6. DJ, Los Angeles

      Moot point to "what if" the Iraq pull-out question.

      First of all we would keep a strong security element, probably an entire division to guard the embassy.

      Secondly nobody said to leave Iraq and then let them fend for themselves.

      The idea is to internationalize the Iraqi reconstruction – bring in U.S. allies under the UN to do a lot of the same type of peacekeeping work. If that includes Muslim armies the resistance will have less credibility.

      This will cut the cost to taxpayers by at least 50%, probably much more...and of course reduce the strain on the military and allow us to shift forces back to Afganistan.

      July 13, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
    7. Steve Novak, Lyons, Colorado

      "Chaos would ensue" if all troops left Iraq?

      What the hell do they think is happening now? Get the hell out of this criminal war, and bring our WAY overextended and shat upon soldiers home NOW. Bush should be prosecuted for any further murders in this criminal and illegal war.

      July 13, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
    8. Dave, Charlotte NC

      Fred you have apparently re-writen history. If you check your facts ( which I know liberals hate facts) but you would see that over 200,000 people were killed by the nothern vietnamese when they invaded the south.

      July 13, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
    9. Carlos, Atlanta, GA

      The level of naivete on this thread astounds me. Anyone who believes that the vaccuum created by our exit wouldn't be taken advantage of by US enemies to strengthen their position, whether as the Shi'ite fundamentalist regime in Iran or al-Quaeda, has their heads in the sand the same as many Europeans did in the late 1930s. Withdrawal and appeasement in the face of a fanatical foe hell-bent on your obliteration has never worked–not then, not now. And to equate Iraq with Vietnam shows a basic ignorance of the sociopolitical factors underlying both issues.

      Like it or not, we cannot simply leave Iraq and hope that it'll straighten itself out without reconfiguring itself into a safe haven for the sort of Islamic fascism that has the destruction and subjugation of Western culture under Shari'ah law. If that's the kind of future you want for our children, then you are as crazy as the Islamofascists are.

      July 13, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
    10. Sammy, Chicago, IL

      What happens if we pull out?

      Probably a civil war, which is already happening now, and the eventual peace treaty forming 3 seperate states where one once stood.

      July 13, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
    11. Dave, Charlotte NC

      Finally we found a war the libs are wanting to stay in and not surrender in Afganistan? Isn't this Bush's war as well DJ? If the UN had done it's job in the first place we wouldnt be in Iraq. But the UN's model is, " if bloted body of corupt politicans can fix it, best left festering. " Perhaps we can send in UN peace keepers to rape the civilians like they did in Haiti? I'm sure that would endear us to the Iraqis even more right?

      July 13, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
    12. Tom W - Dedham, Mass

      Many in the United nations (China, France, Russia, Germany) all could have helped prevent this from ever happening by putting pressure on Saddam and backing up some type of end result accountability, never did.

      The oil for food scandal allowed Saddam to pay off these countries for their continued siding with him and they more than complied.

      Now that he is DEAD, maybe they will join a coalition to straighten this region out.

      The coalition that did join us were called the "coalition of the bribed" by John Kerry, funny though, the real ones that were bribed DID NOTHING.

      July 13, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
    13. Homofthbrav

      Make no mistake about it. The demorats definition for redeployment is the same as it was for Vietnam.

      Complete withdrawal, regardless of the civilian deaths that follow.

      A shameful stance for anyone living a free life because of others sacrifices.

      July 13, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
    14. sean samis, milwaukee, WI

      Carlos; with respect, leaving Iraq is not appeasement. Considering the years, the lives and the dollars we have invested in this effort, leaving is not appeasement, it's simply recognition that the effort is a failure. Only a fool is unwilling to retreat from a disaster; even the Marines retreated from the Chosin Reservoir.

      General Patraeus has said it well, there is no military solution to the Iraqi problem. And now all evidence points to the lack of will in Iraq to a peaceful settlement. There are Iraqi's who want a political solution, but there are not enough of them, nor have they much political power.

      When we leave, (when, not if) Iraq will descend further into chaos and bloodshed; let there be no mistake about that. But whether we stay a decade or leave tomorrow, the results will be the same: bloodshed. Since our staying won't make a difference, we should go; NOW.

      Our enemies will try to take advantage of our absence, yes indeed. But most Iraqi's just want the war to stop, they won't welcome foreigners. In any event, these same enemies seem to be flourishing with us there, perhaps the best way to stop their growth is to leave.

      sean s.

      July 13, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
    15. Lyons Steve

      I see now, Redneck Dave from North Carolina, that you're clueless regarding facts, as well as your insufferably stupid remarks about liberals.

      Since you're clueless, let me clue you in: the United Nations, love 'em or hate 'em, sent in arms inspectors that could find NO WMD. Somehow, this fact has escaped many of you, who seem to support a war started and perpetuated by lies.

      It was the moronic Bush administration that blew off the inspectors and started a war anyway – based on three lies: (1) WMD in Iraq; (2) Hussein complicity in 9-11; (3) Hussein complicity in working with Al Queda.

      Now, you blowhards and liars can shriek all you want – THOSE are the facts, and that's why you sound ignorant about "if the UN had done its job." It did do its job. Bush emasculated it.

      July 13, 2007 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
    16. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

      CNN – thanks so much for that piece! We need more. More investigation, more experts on the subject, more introspect. This has become a huge deal.

      July 13, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
    17. sonny c.ville platte,la

      PULL OUT? The main reason Cheney wanted IN in the first place was because the Saudis had asked us to leave their country. One of the stated reasons foe Bin Laden's jihad against the U.S. was our continued military presence near Mecca following the 1991 Persian Gulf War. We neede a new place for a major military base in this "region of American interest." Every time the Dems. put a statement ina any Iraq legislation to state on the record that the U.S. has noo interest in maintaining a "permanent "military presence in Iraq, the Republicans in Congress, on orders from Bush,Inc. shoot it down. In Cheney's mind WE(whoever that is) captured Iraq & it is now a MILITAR PRIZE. In the minds of Neo-Imperialists you don't give up anything–ever. Especially if there's oil & if you need your military to protect that oil.So yes, it does come down to OIL !!!

      July 13, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
    18. Tim James, Las Vegas, NV

      Given some of the "we have to stay" arguments, I would ask why it is that – if this is such an urgent matter – we have not re-instituted the draft? Why are we not literally throwing everything we have at this problem? Or would that be too politically suicidal for any member of government to propose? Easier to drain the volunteers of every last bit of energy than to actually go in and fight a war?

      July 13, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
    19. Marcus, Ashburn VA

      Let's see...

      1) Iran and Syrian will consolidate its influence in Iraq
      2) Terrorism training, and influence will be greatly enhanced in this region
      3) Logistical supply lines to Hamas and Hezbollah would be more direct and unimpeded.
      4) Israel would be in greater danger
      5) Left wing liberals will be happy for a while until the US gets the snott beat out of it again, then they will blame the government for doing enought to fight terrorism

      July 13, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
    20. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

      This man makes the most sense of anyone I've heard to date on this subject..

      It was the most insightful and interesting Video I've listened to.
      It is a true Bipartisan view of the Iraq War, the effects of withdrawl,
      and an unbiased view of what America needs to do in the best interest
      of American, Iraq and the Mid East.

      time.com time clintonstengel index.html

      July 13, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
    21. Brian, Durham, NC

      We can't just pull out. Take a look at history. After we helped Afghanistan fight the USSR we just got up and went. This is what caused Osama to hate America. This is why we are fighting a war now. Go back to after World War I. We did not help Germany rebuild, and out of that Hitler was born. After WWII we rebuilt using the Marshall Plan, and now we are great allies with many of the countries we fought then. If we just pull out do you actually think these people are going to like us for leaving? We will have more "Osamas" then we will know what to do with. History does not repeat, but it does have patterns.
      As for the country don't we as a country have a moral obligation to rebuild what we destroyed?
      The problem is that we went in unprepared for the aftermath of the war. The question now is what to do, but pulling out may not be the right thing to do.

      July 13, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
    22. Dave , NC AND PROUD

      Let's see there Lyons Steve, um the UN ordered Saddam to disarm and verify, which he did neither. If we would have simply allowed UN inspectors back into Iraq things may have taken a different course. Since he decided to play the dumbest bluff of all time, he now can enjoy his eternal dirt nap. I guess I am a redneck because I live in NC? I actaully just moved here,so try again. Typical liberal tatic, ignore facts, if all else fails resort to name calling. I guess next I'll be a nazi too huh? It's really sad that you on the left get so un-hinged you can even have a decent conversation without hurling insults.

      July 13, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
    23. Justin Godbehere Sand Point, Alaska

      Why has the majority of Americans put there heads back in the sand by pretending that 911 is a long lost memory. Do they fail to realize that terrorist have nothing to lose except the 49 virgin's.HA,HA. Just look close to the land they live in; not much to hoot about. Americans have turned the other cheek waiting for the other side to be struck.
      Buy attacking our President with the assertion to pull our troops away;is and will be a fatal mistake to many too late learned I fear! Dont Sleep You Woken Giant,WAKE UP,Take Care of the Job at hand our Security!!!!

      July 13, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
    24. Connie

      Why even ask "What if"? We will never get troops out as long as Bush is in office. Anyone that thinks that is keeping the terrorists from attacking us again, will probably find out that they are already here and can attack any time they see fit. Since all National Guard will still be in Iraq, there will be no one to protect us. I guess it will be a moot point then whether you are liberal or conservative.

      July 13, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
    25. bret, atl, ga

      Carlos from Atlanta GA – you are delusional man. What sort of "islamofascism" is going to obliterate the US? Where is it? What army does it have? What kind of Navy? How many ICBMs?

      This is madness. You are afraid of an enemy that _does not exist_. The enemy which does exist would be marginalized in islamic society _were it not for US policy which props Bin Laden up and ensures he can meet his recruiting goals_. Give me a break. Are we a nation of 8 year olds?

      July 13, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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