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But there ARE good reasons for being there

Reader comment on item: Let Iraqis run Iraq

Submitted by Dughall Halliday (Netherlands), Oct 20, 2003 at 05:08

Firstly, as you say, American visibility should indeed be reduced where practical and this should be expected to happen as time goes on and as Iraqi institutions emerge. But too early an American withdrawal seems unwise. Iraq contains an important share of the world's oil reserves. It seems vital to America (and any other oil importer) that it does not descend into anarchy or fall under control of anti-Western leadership. These eventualities can't be prevented from bases out in the desert. However costly it may be to stay there, this resource, together with the American prestige already invested, provides reasons for America to persist which were not present in Somalia or Lebanon. Besides, it seems premature to predict that the situation will not improve. Most likely, Saddam and his commanders must be killed or captured eventually. When this happens, a large section of anti-American guerillas will be deprived of its leadership.

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