Michael's Dispatches

Agreement For Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq

25 Comments Published: 03 December 2008

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    getjdb · 13 years ago
    I think we tried this in Viet Nam? The Iraqi government is a joke and once again we are going to get screwed.
    They don't have the will to cooperate with us, each other, or anyone else.
    Its over.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    g gardner · 13 years ago

    Great reporting--haven't heard a word of this from the "Reliable" MSM.

    Wondering how the "one" will be able to take credit now that the "Impossible quagmire" has been removed from his vocabulary.

    Merry Christmas and look forward to your reporting in 2009.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Norm Perry · 13 years ago
    When I hear our troops being governed by "international law", I become very nervous. I am also concerned when it seems that Iraq is controlling missions, strategy and can prosecute our soldiers and their associates. I believe with this, the has come to withdraw swiftly and without further exposure of our men and women to the wiles of those who at one time elected Sadaam Hussein "unanimously".
  • This commment is unpublished.
    tonyf · 13 years ago
    I tend to agree with the first commenter, but have higher hopes for the outcome. I know nothing of any of this other than what I read since I have not served in Iraq. I don't believe the Muslim world is capable of living with themselves without violence, much less just the people of Iraq. Let's hope I'm wrong.

    May you have safe journey home and a blessed and peaceful Christmas.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mad Mike · 13 years ago
    It looks to me they want us out, forgive all their debt, assume the cost of reconstruction (what we have already done) with no requirement for reimbursement, keep all their oil and gas revenues, and have us pay to support them through 2011. Maybe it is time for us to pull up stakes and let them have their country back. We can send the troops and material to Afghanistan and finish what we started over there. And as we leave, send them a bill for all the blood our people have shed in their name. I feel sorry for the Iraqi people to have to deal with their new arrogant, egotistical, and idiotic politicians like ours. These are the poor people who are going to pay the price now.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mad Mike · 13 years ago
    It looks to me they want us out, forgive all their debt, assume the cost of reconstruction (what we have already done) with no requirement for reimbursement, keep all their oil and gas revenues, and have us pay to support them through 2011. Maybe it is time for us to pull up stakes and let them have their country back. We can send the troops and material to Afghanistan and finish what we started over there. And as we leave, send them a bill for all the blood our people have shed in their name. I feel sorry for the Iraqi people to have to deal with their new arrogant, egotistical, and idiotic politicians like ours. These are the poor people who are going to pay the price now.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John D. · 13 years ago
    I don't see How does this agreement benefits the USA, it's troops or contractors? It doesn't!
    I think this agreement stinks and that we should renegoiate or pull out - period.
    No one other than our US Commanders should EVER have control over our troops at any time. No UN or Iraqi, no outside governance.
    The civilian contractors should never be subject to Iraqi law or their courts, we all know how that would play out in the end. Don't we!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Gary Barth · 13 years ago
    Thank you for this report, Michael. I live right around the corner from you in Deltona. I cannot believe this is a serious document, but if it is being considered, maybe we ought to do what the others have said, and head off to Afghanistan. Let them fend for themselves without ANY US support. We cannot and should not be under the jurisdiction of any international power, and should share our control with the Iraqis. I think that under Obama, this might happen very soon. God help us all.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    COINoperator · 13 years ago
    I guess that's progress, anyway. The Iraqi Government has come a long way from 2006 when I got there. We've had to drag them kicking and screaming into success but they are going to make it. Not because the central government is solid but because the local councils are able to hold the central government accountable.

    As far as this agreement, it is a stop gap measure done by politicians. Face it, the military hasn't been "fighting" this conflict since 200 . The military has taken a State Department role as nation builders. There are BCT commanders who are/were the true government in their AO's. I feel this agreement is a result of that. Iraq wants the best of all worlds because we have bent over backwards to make sure they have had it over the last three years. Now, just like any other previous socialistic/communistic government, they want it all. It's going to take time, but this will work.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kristi · 13 years ago
    I have been such a staunch supporter of the War in Iraq and taking out Saddam. I have
    always stuck up for Iraq and the Iraqi people when talking with family or anywhere else.
    I am not in the military nor have I ever served in the military, but I love our military for all
    they do for our country and for others. This "agreement" seems like a kick in the face
    to our military and our country. I for one find it disrespectful for all that we have done for
    Iraq. I think, after reading this, we should just leave. I feel bad for the Iraqi people, but if their
    government is going to be so disrespectful towards our military and what we have done for them,
    let them fend for themselves from here on out, without any more help and support from us. Did a
    Democrat politician write this "agreement" for the Iraqi government?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John B · 13 years ago
    Those on the left will wonder how this agreement could be made by Bush administration.
    It does seem to be missing a "thank you" and offer of payment of any expenses incurred while liberating Iraq from a tyrant and getting the utilities, etc working.
    Michael, thanks for your great reporting and filling a hole left by the usual media.
    Say hi to the 17 rd in Afganistan for me.
    John - A450 17 rd Abn Bde 1970-71
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mike Cain · 13 years ago
    I have been following you for a while now ever since I read your book.
    You are right on My Brother. Its over there but we have a lot of work to do in Afganastan.
    Thanks from a WTC Survivor
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dee Peterson · 13 years ago
    From what I can see there is significant wiggle room for both parties. In the end, President Obama merely has to give a written request to terminate the agreement and 12 months later, it's terminated. It is in our best interest that Iraq succeed. A new democracy will have many failures before it takes hold. Let us not forget that we have paid a dear price in blood shed and lives lost as well as the Iraqi people. Let them not be in vain! It looks to me like both parties put a lot of thought into this and did their best to consider all angles. There is wiggle room, as I see it. You have to read the whole thing carefullly. Iraq has jurisdiction.....but it doesn't. As the mom of a soldier over there, I would just as soon he come home. It's a waste of manpower at this point, except for those directly involved in training the Iraqi Security Forces. They are sorely needed in Afghanistan and we have much ground to make up there and must win that war! I don't believe we are welcome in Iraq, so my feeling is.....send my son and everybody elses home. On the other hand, can we afford for them to fail????
  • This commment is unpublished.
    real politik · 13 years ago
    On first read, this Agreement is so biased that it almost seems ludicrious. However, that might just be the exact thing all parties are after - the perfect "cover". The Iraqi's can save face by positioning themselves as a the true protectors of their country, while the new administration will be able to meet their withdrawal goals (how can we stay under such circumstances will be the argument). The old administration/GOP can cover themselves by declairing the agreement was not something that they could support - thus they also save face. All sides can blame the other while pointing to the agreement. Possibly a very savvy political move by all parties?

    Of course how will it impact the situation on the ground and all the gains so painfully won.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Waldschrat · 13 years ago
    Nobody knows how things will eventually turn out in Iraq. It seems inevitable there will eb rough spots as various interest groups work out their relationship with each other one way or another. For the US to have a a long term presence in the country would smack of occupation, so it seems best to formalize a departure protocol. The agreement recently signed is such a protocol.

    We can only hope that Iraq will be better place to live after we leave than it was before we came, and that history will eventually view our actions in Iraq as contributing to improvement rather than deterioration of conditions. War was never the first option, and the WMD excuse used to "sell" the invasion left the impression we had gone to war by mistake when it didn't pan out. Never the less, Saddam was a deplorable tyrant and few would argue that the world is not well rid of him.

    The greater problem is the seemingly worldwide predilection of fanatics trying to make an obscure political or pseudo-religious point by slaughtering innocent people. Too often the excuse given is defense of Islam. It doesn't say much for the value of Islam. I have no idea whether most Muslims find that regrettable or not.

    I for one would enjoy a more peaceful world. It seems unlikely, but it would be nice. Making this comment longer probably wouldn't help much, so I won't.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    C Fly · 13 years ago
    In reading the agreement and many of the comments, I can understand why so many people have a disillusioned view of what's happening in Iraq. Firstly, you must understand that Iraq is not a country comprised of national citizens, it is comprised of tribal groups, primarily Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims with the majority being Shi'ite. Shi'ite muslims are guided by the religious leaders of Iran. At the present moment, Iran is having a good laugh at the US because we walked in, removed their number one enemy in the region and restored the Shi'ites as the ruling party, and footed the bill for the entire effort. Everyday that we spend there is another day of wasted money that should be used to get Americans back on their feet and back in their homes. If there was a war worth fighting in Iraq, I would be all for it. After all, I did spend 12 years in the USMC. Its time to stop wasting our money and our troops lives on a futile effort.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    W rocks · 13 years ago
    WHAT are you naysayers reading??? This looks quite standard to me; we leave them to finish building their new nation, but will continue to be available to help if they need us. We've helped the Iraqi people give birth to their new nation, now we step back a bit and hand-hold only as necessary while they learn to stand on their own two feet. Diplomatically helping them strip themselves of the burdens of Saddam's legacy was certainly to be expected at this juncture. You didn't really think this was ever about oil, did you, Bush-haters? The birth of a new democratic nation of free, self-sufficient citizens is a beautiful thing. We should all be proud!!
    To read anything dire into this is to seek to pull defeat from the jaws of victory. Give it up anti-American readers, this war is truly and finally won, mission accomplished.

    And Michael, THANKS, and Merry Christmas to you!!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    David I · 13 years ago
    Didn't we see Neville Chamberlain waving a similar piece of paper around in 19 8, as the peace-at-all-costs-so-long-as-we-don't-have-to-pay-it lobby had their futile say?
    Still, our progress in Iraq since 200 is amazing. It too the U.S. 12 years from independence to a ratified Constuitution. It took us less than five to do the same with the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). It took less than in Iraq to do it.

    We're getting better at setting up governments. But liberals don't want to support them because they're trying too hard to kowtow to the corrupt U.N., which is simply the reborn League of Nations, but with the added flavor of intense anti-American, Anti-Semitic, Anti-Freedom bias.
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    BDHale · 13 years ago
    I agree with the above posts that state concern that any operations conducted by our forces must be in accordance with a 'Ministerial Committee'. That we need to abide by 'International Law' is not, in itself, troubling. It is what entity would be judging whether we are doing this, or not, is...
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    Capt Matt Bruce Ret · 13 years ago
    Having gone thru Vietnam, this appears to be a better way to have an agreement in place which provides for Iraqis to step up and rebuild Iraq while we remain there to assist whenever they ask for or need our help. I am in favor of this agreement provided the Itaqis do their part which they seem to have already been doing. God Bless our Military men and women keeping all of us FREE & SAFE while they risk their own lives in defense of Freedom...
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    Bob Houde · 12 years ago
    As with any aggreement, it is incumbent on the parties involved to live up to what they have signed on to do. My concern is that the Obama administration learn the lessons offered from Viet Nam, and not only live up to this Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq, but also continue to ensure that Iraq will not become a failed nation state. Iraq's location in central southwest asia can either be a boon to regional stability, or a destabilizing influence should the hard work our armed forces have done be allowed to go for naught.

    This means America can not rush out, but must be patient and remain engaged. It also means the Government of Iraq must buy into building a nation of their own. Wether it is a democracy or other form of government, the Iraqis need to become a force for stability and growth, for their own people, and their neighbors.
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    Ann Golden · 12 years ago
    I've been following the SOFA negotiations for months now. It was going nowhere primarily since we (US) would not concede on our soldiers, specific timeline, thus sovereignty.

    When the discussion of Article VII (Iraq assets) commenced the Iraqi response was rapid. That benefit of SOFA was only blurted out once by the cabinet then the Iraq news (Voice of Iraq). Internal negotiations with Sunni, Shiite, etal were cooking. The news documented them every day. The message was clear. It's going to get a majority in Parliament. While, as we all know, there are other reasons Iraq needs US support, assets were a major motivator.

    I managed to get a draft of an earlier version. You may find this hard to swallow but the final SOFA has much, much more workable terms with respect to jurisdiction regarding our Soldiers and civilians.

    Still I am not sure why Syria referred to this SOFA as a prize.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Art F. · 12 years ago
    After reading the whole agreement, I find it actually spells out less information than most contracts. There are enough loopholes we could float the entire third fleet through. I also see little value of this for the United States and its military personnel. It is a financial windfall to Iraq with us providing all the financing. I found no direct referral to the 8 billion embassy we built or any comments regarding a long term diplomatic relationship. Essentially I find the agreement to be vague and essentially worthless. U just do not see the upside as unlike Michael, I do not have the same strong respect for the "integrity' of the Iraq government. Time to close up shop, pick up our toys and come home. These systems, people and infrastructure are needed in Afghanistan.
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    Arlene · 12 years ago
    This is a "First Step" isn't it? The fact that there will be joint commissions on all matters is cautiously comforting, especially in reference to our troops and contractors. I'm certain our troops and the contractors are well aware of this agreement and the Iraqi laws. I have faith in the military to make certain our troops are protected. It is our troops, after all, who have sacrificed and led the way to Iraqi independence.
    I am curious about the coalition troops; are there separate agreements being signed with the other countries involved?
    Thank you for all you do. Have a blessed Christmas.
    God protect our troops
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    Rhyno · 12 years ago
    Wow..thats just great. I would NEVER have given in on that. Now, you may think twice before pulling the trigger, and that may cost you your life. Maliki wants us gone so he could implement his "shia agenda"...where does that leave the Kurds? Why are we still shelling out billions when Iraq has a surplus in the billions? Why are we going to sell them [or give?] M1-Abrams tanks? So he can use them against the Kurds? The big winner in this mess is IRAN. They got thier "boy" in the top spot, and how long will this peace last? My bet is not long. There is a bigger problem in A-stan, and this has not been addressed in a long time. This is where the "roots" of islamic fundamentalism are, the kind that condones the murdering of innocents.

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