Opinion: U.S. pulled Iraq troops too soon
January 5th, 2012
03:04 PM ET

Opinion: U.S. pulled Iraq troops too soon

by Michael V. Hayden, CNN Contributor

Editor's note: Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who was appointed by President George W. Bush as CIA director in 2006 and served until February 2009, is a principal with the Chertoff Group, a security consulting firm. He serves on the boards of several defense firms and is a distinguished visiting professor at George Mason University. Hayden is an adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.

Very little in life is truly inevitable. When briefing policy makers, I would try to point out that a lot of it wasn't even predictable (at least in any scientific sense). But surely what is happening in Iraq, the increasingly darkening clouds of sectarian division, can hardly be described as unexpected.

In late 2006, as the Bush administration was debating the so-called surge, there were few doubts that five brigades worth of professional combat power could buy down the hellish level of violence then inflicting that country. There was less certainty that even with a reduced level of violence the Iraqi government could leverage that reality to make meaningful political progress.

At one meeting I pointed out that to do so Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki would have to "govern beyond his life experience." Having lived for an extensive period in exile, fearing for his life and seeing Baathists bent on his murder at every turn, he was far from a sure bet to be the kind of visionary, inclusive leader that we all thought Iraq needed. The Shiite-dominated Iraqi military and police services were also problematic, as strengthening them without the necessary political development threatened to make what Sunnis and Kurds saw as a predatory force simply more effective in their predations.


Filed under: Iraq • Military • Security Brief
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Showmeyerpapers

    U S military were willing to kill indiscriminantly in iraq. To murder in the name of an undeclared illegal unconstitutional act of aggression. Did they ever find the weapons of mass destruction? Of course not because they never existed. Apparently they werent under george jawbone's desk, he looked and joked "not under there", remember? Now that iraq is sinking into full scale civil war the work is done. The days you hear of scores killed in iraq, if you see a man in uniform, thank him on behalf of the new world disorder. A president with no accountability, the supreme court, illegal invasion (immigration), and the entity which placed the gold fringe around our flag are the real w m d's. Political correctness is domestic terrorism and the furtherence of lawlessness.Jesus will certainly smite the nations and rule with a rod of iron.Good news? Isaiah 11

    January 9, 2012 at 12:25 am | Reply
  2. Tom Clark

    5 years ago, now, or 5 years from now, Iraq will be Iraq, we can not change the basic problems in the region.

    January 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Reply
  3. Weapons of Mass Destruction

    Guatemala has weapons of mass destruction. Let's get 'em! And stay forever.

    January 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Reply
  4. michaelfury

    And your opinion on this, General?


    January 6, 2012 at 7:37 am | Reply
  5. Voice of Reason

    It think that it's very important to point out three things that seem to be absent in this report,

    1) Each individual soldier could be held accountable over every person they shot at and have to defend themselves in court if Iraqi govt decided that what they were shooting at were civilians, armed or not. What's the solution to that? compromise our safety elsewhere and practically beg to stay in a country where a good portion of the local populace dislike our presence

    2) The populace of iraq found us an easy target to blame because whenever an IED killed a civilian, it would be because the Americans were there. Now that they have experienced sectarian bombings during our absence, we are no longer the object of their immediate aggression anymore because whenever they got pissed about something, we were the biggest target. And since we're not there to be the bullet sponge, they'll have to front the bill for their domestic terrorism on their own

    And 3) "Editor's note: Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who was appointed by President George W. Bush as CIA director in 2006 and served until February 2009...." anybody else see anything about these dates? Pretty much as soon as Obama took office, this guy was out of the CIA directorship, it wouldn't be a stretch to say his opinion may be just a little biased.

    January 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  6. ChicagoRich

    @Kayla your great great uncle was a war hero in World War One, and you should be very proud of his conduct in that campaign. He saved the lives of many soldiers. That said, in our armed forces we are generally not allowed much leeway for family conditions regarding deployments. I applaud Tyler York's commitment to the defense of our nation, and if I ever meet him I will offer to buy him a steak and a beverage or two of his choosing, but when one commits to serve in our nations armed forces, that commitment should take priority over all personal matters. I suspect that your brother understands this. I empathize your concern for your brother and desire for him to be with his family. It would be wonderful if we did not have to deploy forces to Afghanistan, but we are there as a direct result of the attacks on us on 11 September 2001 and there is no easy way to leave without first establishing a stable government there, lest we risk a repeat of those terrorist attacks. Again, I applaud your family on its history of service to our great nation.

    January 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  7. Daniel Huddleston

    My friends, be not decieved, All Roads Lead To Rome. All western leaders are nothing more than puppets of Secret Societies within Secret Societies, where one is exposed, the head still lives. The Bank of Englind and the Federal Reserve are all Run by the Vatican Bank. The Masters of deception have infultrated every intelligence agency from the CIA, Mossad, M16 and beyond. They take their orders from the Jesuit Compound, The Curia Generalizia is the headquarters in Rome. The Vatican is the one institution still bent on world domination. Her powers stripped from her by The Protestant Reformation have infuriated her for years. And now that her wound is healed, she has control of Protestant American's Military, Money and Government, she can destabilize the intire worlds governments and monitary systems, creating chao's, anarchy and civil strife and soon a world war more devistating than any before. By doing so she creates distrust in all governments making it easier to install a savior that can bring peace out of the chaos she created to control the world. Syria and Iran are institution in her way. If you need a starting point to investigate, look at the Universities that your leaders and agents were moored from in this sea of deception. If they are not Jesuit, the Secret Societies within will lead to them. Every Major calmity of war, assasination and major religious design that was created in the last 2000 years was created by them for them to help eradicate any and all who believed only in the Commandments of God and the Testamony of Christ. At the COUNCIL OF TOULOUSE – 1229 A.D. POPE INNOCENT III decreed it a heresy punishable by death at the stake if anyone was caught with any part of the old or new testament.

    There is nothing christain about the interworkings of Rome. She practices the old Babylonia and Assyrain relgion and rituals sprinkled with christian names. In the next war the Dome of the Rock will be destroyed to make way for a new temple and a new leader the world will call Messiah.

    The stage is set, the actors are armed and the Puppet Masters await the order to pull the right string to bring in their chaotic plan. My friends All Roads Lead to Rome. Do your own research, look under the garbage they have used to cover their plans and you will find History and Truth an enlightenment. But beware of the light that deceives, for there are a thousand vipers at every point, alluring the mind to the light bearer of souls.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  8. Kayla Nicole York

    My Brother Tyler James York is Stationed In Fort Bragg North Carolina. His baby Was Just Born 2 Days Ago And He Gets Shipped To AFGNAISTAN January 23rd. Now Im Hoping They WIll Make It To Where He Doesnt Have To Go But If He Does, Obama Will Be Hearing From Me And My Family. Sgt. Alvin York Was My Great Great Uncle. And I Dont Think He Would Be Too happy Hearing About This. Take The Troops Out Of Afganistan. Iraq Is Nothing. Just Watch.!

    January 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Reply
    • ???

      What exactly did your brother expect when he joined the military? I'm assuming he joined AFTER the attacks on 9/11 and after OIF/OEF started. Anyone who joined post-9/11 has no reason to believe that they WON'T be deployed to either of those regions of the world. With the heavily publicized (and often mis-reported) situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is just ignorant to believe a service member will not serve his or her country in either conflict. I've been in the Marine Corps for 11 years and have been on multiple deployments. I've had Marines work for me who have missed the birth of their child and missed funerals for family members. I assure you that attempting to contact Mr. Obama or your brothers chain of command to try to get him taken off of the deployment will not play well in his favor and it WILL NOT stop him from deploying. It will only make his time overseas more difficult. Service members sign up for 3, 4 or 5 years at a time and give the government permission to do with them what it likes. Nobody forces a service member to enlist, there is no active draft process and anyone who joins, does so willingly and knowing that they possibly will serve their country in a dangerous place.

      January 6, 2012 at 8:37 am | Reply
    • Drewcity75

      Woooow! Apparently your brother never spoked to you about operation security! Why post his full name and date on when he is shipping out! Good luck contacting the President! Good luck to your brother and his unit, now that EVERYONE know when he's leaving! D**B A**!!!

      January 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    • ???????

      when your brother joined the marines he should have know that i doesnt matter what is going on in his life he is going to be deployed when they tell him he is going to be. good luck to your family and your brother

      January 7, 2012 at 8:58 am | Reply
  9. Hahahahahahahaha

    It's never too soon to pull out. Hahahahahahahahaha.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply

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