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A Modest Proposal - An Iraqi Vote on Troop Withdrawal

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A Modest Proposal

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An Iraqi Vote on Troop Withdrawal

By Michael Collins

Over the years, we've seen various "exit strategies" proposed for withdrawal from Iraq.  The best proposal was made by a Baghdad man on his way to a demonstration just a few days after that city fell.  A  U.S. reporter asked what should happen now.  The man turned to the reporter and said, "Thank you for getting rid of Saddam.  Now please leave our country."

That advice was probably the best input that United States policy makers ever received (if they even noticed).   It was freely offered and no one died in the process.

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Why not give democracy a chance?

The Iraqis have a right to a direct vote on the options for U.S. troop withdrawal.

The ballot would be simple.

Should U.S. troops leave Iraq?   Yes   No

If you answered Yes, how soon should they leave?

Immediately __    6 months __   12 months__    18 months__

Iraqis have wanted the U.S. out of their country almost from day one.  Various surveys show that a solid majority of citizens want coalition troops to leave within a year.  In 2004, 86% of Iraqis wanted U.S. troops out - 41% immediately and 46% after a new government was established.  At the start of 2006, 94% of all Iraqis supported their government setting a timeline for U.S. withdrawal from immediate departure to a timed departure over two years.   A few months later, even a poll by the U.S. Department of State showed nearly 70% of citizens wanted U.S. occupation to end.

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Polls in 2007 and 2008 conducted by a variety of organizations demonstrate that a majority of Iraqis want foreign troops to leave.

Here's why they're upset.  Over a million Iraqis have died in sectarian and other forms of violence kicked off by the U.S. invasion.  For the most part, this has been Iraqis killing other Iraqis, an outcome of the extensive civil strife that was predicted before the invasion.

In addition, the quality of life in Iraq is dreadful and the citizens do notice.   Since 2007, large segments of the population describe a "declining quality/availability of (the) electricity supply, water, fuel, education, local government and medical care."  Harm to an immediate family member was reported by 17% of Iraqis.

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