Please limit your response to 80 words or less. The best entries reflecting the balance of views expressed will be published on TIME.com throughout the week.
Some of your responses:
The U.S. should get out of Iraq as soon as the intelligent people who know and understand the situation decide the time is right. These are people who meet and discuss the situation daily, not casual observers who snipe and carp at every bombing and negative thing that occurs.
Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Completely disregarding the ethics of the invasion, there are some basic facts that cannot be overlooked: building up a new government especially one that resides over a troubled region is extremely difficult. Just look at the history of Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Russia. New democratic governments have failed more than they have succeeded. Japan and Germany were exceptions, not the rule. We must pour in all of the time and resources needed to ensure that Iraq succeeds. We cannot create another Cuba.
Handing control to Iraqis will take time. Iraqis are not "one people" wanting to be "one nation". The Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shi'ites have separate agendas and respond to different outside powers. The U.S. ought to remain in Iraq, help cooperating Iraqis to improve their life, get organized and work for their future. Strategically, U.S. presence in Iraq neutralizes Iran and Syria's activities in the region and enhances our alliance with other neighbors. Our presence and actions are effective and significantly reduce terrorist attacks on the U.S. mainland. Our military is trained, organized and equipped for this mission ... let them do it.
Luis O. Rodriguez
Regardless of your views before the war, we must all come together now and agree to help the Iraqi people build a better future for themselves and their children. The entire world owes this to them for allowing Hussein's brutal regime to terrorize them for so long. Let's stop arguing about who was right and DO what's right. That means we stay until Iraq elects a government of their own, and has the means to govern democratically and fairly.
Immediately. The U.S. has invaded a sovereign civilized country which did not attack them and was not even a threat. Let Iraqis rule themselves, their own way. This ancient country should be able to recover, with some help coming from friendly countries, not invaders. This is where the UN comes in.
USA should not have started the war in the first place, but now that it is done they must finish it, and do it well. It will require at least eight months, many billions of dollars and the lives of lots of soldiers. The mistake I fear the most is Bush leaving the Iraqis to some ayatollah to win the election. I hope I am wrong.
Not until the war on terror is won. The US and the world cannot allow people to be taught from birth that the path to paradise is through the death of Americans. The U.S. represents 25% of the global economy and 1/3 of global economic growth. Another Sept. 11th-type event on U.S. soil and the U.S. economy would contract severely. The American consumer that has kept the global economy afloat won't be willing to paddle the boat anymore. In turn that would lead to a massive global recession. This is a war we must win: if we fail, the rest of the world goes down with us.
It should never have been there in the first place. Hand over it now. Time will tell, U.S. will never succeed to install a government that licks U.S. toes: maybe for a short period, but defitely not in the long run. Most of the Iraqi people may not like Saddam, but an equal amount of them will not support U.S. policies and its intentions in the region. Take it from a person from the region. So it is a failure from inception. Time will tell.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Immediately. It never was U.S. business. Leave it which means leave it really, and sincerely to the Iraqis, or whomever they call in for help. Force Bush to resolve to mind the U.S.'s own business in the future and ameliorate the U.S. citizen's life.
Regardless of the BEST time (after stabilization, if that's even possible) Bush will see that we are out of Iraq by next year, probably August or September. Then, he will again celebrate "mission accomplished", Americans will celebrate, polls will skyrocket, and he will get his landslide. After a few months, Iraq will slide into a theocracy or another secular dictatorship, but we will ignore it, just as we ignore Afghanistan today.
As soon as there are enough Iraqi policemen to control the towns. The second step would be for the occupation troups to move to the countryside and reduce their number gradually as the new Iraqi army builds up its numbers; this move is guaranteed to reduce the terrorist attacks, and could be done in a matter of three months.
The United States should stay until we've gotten Iraq on to the road to a liberal democracy with a reviving economy to boot. To do so otherwise is not only giving up Iraq to terrorists (albeit of a different sort), but a direct betrayal of our democratic roots and ideals.
San Diego, Calif.
Not until the Iraqi people have an infrastructure in place to maintain the peace and support a democratic government ... so that the crazies and religious fanatics won't tear everything apart and ruin the country again.
The U.S. must hand over control to the Iraqis together with a UN mandate. The UN must handle the country, not the U.S. Nobody will trust the U.S. administration as long as President Bush will not accept the fact that the UN is the only hope for the world.
The U.S. should never have attacked a sovereign country in the first place. He lied and they died. Get out now!
The test of a true leader was not getting us into this war, but getting us out. President Bush needs to garner the support of the international community NOW. Too much of the equity in our reputation is being spent as we continue to stand virtually alone in trying to create stability in Iraq. Our arrogance in believing we are the only ones who can do it right is appalling.
Palo Alto, Calif.
Not a minute sooner than it should. This should be the relevant answer to this question. Until Iraq has a stable government with an electoral process and established constitution we would be foolish to get out and leave Iraq in a mess.
Colorado Springs, Colo.
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