After more than four years of fighting and months of foot-dragging, the US finally seems willing to cut its presence in Iraq. The unpopular war has been a millstone around America's neck and General David Petraeus, most senior US commander in Iraq, has hinted that he may recommend a reduction in US troop numbers in Iraq.
What took them so long? The sprawling US military footprint has been nothing short of a disaster for both America and their President George W. Bush. Bush's military "surge" in Iraq was just too little, too late and a recent BBC poll suggests that most people across the world want the US-led forces out of Iraq within a year. Even in the US, one-in-four supported an immediate withdrawal. So what's keeping them there? Currently US troops controlled less than a third of the capital Baghdad, and this is a figure given by the US military!
The Iraq War, or the Occupation of Iraq if you like, was to be a short, sweet, glorious war lasting all of six weeks. It has been over 4 years and they are still fighting! Even if the fight stop tomorrow, can anyone say that the Americans has won?
For Singapore, it is in our interest that America win in Iraq. However, I (and members of the US government) just can't see that happening. Worse, the war is doing more harm than good on the "War on Terror". Leaders of Al-Qaeda have opening said that the Iraq war is a boon to their recruiting and operational efforts, providing evidence to jihadists worldwide that America is at war with Islam. In October 2003, Osama bin Laden all but thanked Bush for going into Iraq.
I suggest America pull their troops out of Iraq, not for the sake of the Iraqis, but for themselves. The Americans are weakening themselves there and that is not a good thing for Singapore.