Our Troops Must Leave Iraq

December 4th, 2007 - by admin

Walter Cronkite and David Krieger / CommonDreams.org – 2007-12-04 20:13:53


(December 4, 2007) — The American people no longer support the war in Iraq. The war is being carried on by a stubborn president who, like Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon during the Vietnam War, does not want to lose. But from the beginning this has been an ill-considered and poorly prosecuted war that, like the Vietnam War, has diminished respect for America. We believe Mr. Bush would like to drag the war on long enough to hand it off to another president.

The war in Iraq reminds us of the tragedy of the Vietnam War. Both wars began with false assertions by the president to the American people and the Congress. Like Vietnam, the Iraq War has introduced a new vocabulary: “shock and awe,” “mission accomplished,” “the surge.” Like Vietnam, we have destroyed cities in order to save them. It is not a strategy for success.

The Bush administration has attempted to forestall ending the war by putting in more troops, but more troops will not solve the problem. We have lost the hearts and minds of most of the Iraqi people, and victory no longer seems to be even a remote possibility. It is time to end our occupation of Iraq, and bring our troops home.

This war has had only limited body counts. There are reports that more than one million Iraqis have died in the war. These reports cannot be corroborated because the US military does not make public the number of the Iraqi dead and injured. There are also reports that some four million Iraqis have been displaced and are refugees either abroad or within their own country. Iraqis with the resources to leave the country have left. They are frightened. They don’t trust the US, its allies or its mercenaries to protect them and their interests.

We know more about the body counts of American soldiers in Iraq. Some 4,000 American soldiers have been killed in this war, about a third more than the number of people who died in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. And some 28,000 American soldiers have suffered debilitating injuries. Many more have been affected by the trauma of war in ways that they will have to live with for the rest of their lives – ways that will have serious effects not only on their lives and the lives of their loved ones, but on society as a whole. Due to woefully inadequate resources being provided, our injured soldiers are not receiving the medical treatment and mental health care that they deserve.

The invasion of Iraq was illegal from the start. Not only was Congress lied to in order to secure its support for the invasion of Iraq, but the war lacked the support of the United Nations Security Council and thus was an aggressive war initiated on the false pretenses of weapons of mass destruction. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Nor has any assertion of a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda proven to be true. In the end, democracy has not come to Iraq. Its government is still being forced to bend to the will of the US administration.

What the war has accomplished is the undermining of US credibility throughout the world, the weakening of our military forces, and the erosion of our Bill of Rights. Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz calculates that the war is costing American tax payers more than $1 trillion. This amount could double if we continue the war. Each minute we are spending $500,000 in Iraq. Our losses are incalculable. It is time to remove our military forces from Iraq.

We must ask ourselves whether continuing to pursue this war is benefiting the American people or weakening us. We must ask whether continuing the war is benefiting the Iraqi people or inflicting greater suffering upon them. We believe the answer to these inquiries is that both the American and Iraqi people would benefit by ending the US military presence in Iraq.

Moving forward is not complicated, but it will require courage. Step one is to proceed with the rapid withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and hand over the responsibility for the security of Iraq to Iraqi forces. Step two is to remove our military bases from Iraq and to turn Iraqi oil over to Iraqis. Step three is to provide resources to the Iraqis to rebuild the infrastructure that has been destroyed in the war.

Congress must act. Although Congress never declared war, as required by the Constitution, they did give the president the authority to invade Iraq. Congress must now withdraw that authority and cease its funding of the war.

It is not likely, however, that Congress will act unless the American people make their voices heard with unmistakable clarity. That is the way the Vietnam War was brought to an end. It is the way that the Iraq War will also be brought to an end. The only question is whether it will be now, or whether the war will drag on, with all the suffering that implies, to an even more tragic, costly and degrading defeat. We will be a better, stronger and more decent country to bring the troops home now.

Walter Cronkite is the former long-time anchor for CBS Evening News. David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.


1. dreamertoo December 4th, 2007 11:58 am
We love you, Walter Cronkite!

2. MeAlsoToo December 4th, 2007 11:58 am
Et tu, Walter…?

3. forextrader December 4th, 2007 12:00 pm

Walter, you get your butt back on TV right now!!!Show the Cowardly News Network and the Fake News Channel what a true journalist really is!!!

4. since1492 December 4th, 2007 12:13 pm

Nice to hear Walter confirm what most of the world has known since the start of the “war”. But don’t forget what Jack London wrote in his IRON HEEL: “You have forgotten the editors. They draw their salaries for the policy they maintain. Their policy is to print nothing that is a vital menace to the established. The newspapers will purge his heresy in the oblivion of silence. The press of the United States? It is a parasitic growth that battens on the capitalist class. Its function is to serve the established by moulding public opinion, and right well it serves it.”
Hoa binh

5. locust December 4th, 2007 12:19 pm

“Although Congress never declared war…” Then why call it a war, Mr. Cronkite and Mr. Krieger? Why give it a status that it does not deserve?

Congress sort-of declared war with Public Law 107-243. Since the Constitution does not detail what language actually declares war it is reasonable to accept that an AUMF (Authorization to Use Military Force) is a declaration of war.

Doesn’t matter, anyway, the war ended 4 years ago. We met our war goals and the C-in-C declared victory (sort-of).

Don’t call it a war. That allows the “but we’re at war so we have to obey our leader” argument.

It is an occupation at the official request of the occupied.

Calling it war also helps those who want to confuse the issue by conflating our actions in Iraq with the other 2 wars we fight, the Constitutionally-declared fight against those who attacked us on 9/11 and the unConstitutional ‘war on terror’.
“End the occupation of Iraq”

6. Jaded Prole December 4th, 2007 12:26 pm
Walter Cronkite was one of the last remaining national journalists. Now all we have are “news actors” shilling embedded propaganda — with the exception of Keith Olberman.

Cronkite’s dignitas adds much weight to the call for a withdrawl from Iraq and ad inquiry into the crimes of this administration.
7. commander_n_chimp December 4th, 2007 12:48 pm
Unfortunately this will be ignored by the media.

8. jade December 4th, 2007 12:56 pm

walter cronkite has been a well respected father figure for years…perhaps that is not what we should expect from out media, but he is and has been a voice of calm reason for decades….mr. cronkite, bill moyers and howard zinn should go on a national tour together….end the war with the people’s will….how the hell do we organize everyone to get out at the same time on the same day in cities across the country? what better day that the one we call christmas? a sacrifice worth ending the wars in iraq and afghanistan….

9. nicnews December 4th, 2007 12:59 pm

God Bless Our Walter Cronkite! If he hasn’t been given this nation’s highest honor as a civilian, it should be done before he dies. The Truth is the Truth is the Truth!
God Bless You, Walter!

10. blueskies December 4th, 2007 1:01 pm

A fine piece and they are correct.

However, there is one number which is very suspect and I wish someone would get the facts correct. I believe that it has been contended for some years now that there are injured soldiers to the tune of the upper 20 thousands. How could such a number be static for all these years of intense attacks against our soldiers? I wouldn’t be surprised if the number is double or triple the 28,000 mentioned in this article. Can someone in the press or in the blogosphere check this out and make it well known? Perhaps the Freedom of information act needs to be invoked. I am sure the bush administration and pentagon don’t want the truth known. And how many have PTSD or brain damage? Shouldn’t they be included too? Aren’t they injured?

11. hawknh December 4th, 2007 1:06 pm

Locust: not only was the war in Iraq illegal, as is the continued occupation, so was the war against Afghanistan. You wrote:

Calling it war also helps those who want to confuse the issue by conflating our actions in Iraq with the other 2 wars we fight, the Constitutionally-declared fight against those who attacked us on 9/11 and the unConstitutional ‘war on terror’.

Please tell me where and when Congress declared war against Afghanistan, and on what grounds? We were NOT attacked by the Afghan government (the Taliban). The UN Charter (which we wrote and signed, remember?)specifically forbids attacking a nation that did not attack us. In addition, the preparations for war against Afghanistan began in the summer of 2001, months BEFORE 9/11. That attack had more to do with a natural gas pipeline than it did in finding Osama. Funny how we don’t seem to care about him anymore. I will agree that the “war on terror” is simply a cover for expansion of the American empire, which we will pay dearly for in many ways in the years to come.

12. canuckchuck December 4th, 2007 1:06 pm
WAKE UP…THERE IS NO “WAR” IN IRAQ…the war was over in 2004. Now there is only an endless occupation and rape of natural resources…

13. WTF December 4th, 2007 1:08 pm
blueskies wrote: (H)ow many [soldiers] have PTSD or brain damage? …Aren’t they injured?

One could argue that they were injured before they joined to fight in Iraq. The National Guard is not, I would say, “attracting Americas finest”.

14. locust December 4th, 2007 1:36 pm
hawknh –

I pointed out what is, not what should be. There are arguments that the invasion of Iraq was illegal, and good ones at that. But the actual legislation was so badly-worded that Bush & Co. drove their unarmored Hummvees right through the gaping holes. Have you read Public Law 107-243?

Since you asked me about Afghanistan, here goes.

The troops in Afghanistan are fighting 2 conflicts (see, more confusion).

Public Law 107-40 (another AUMF) was a sort-of war declaration against those who supported the guys who attacked us on 9/11. (and a badly-worded piece of crap). Have you read it?

Bush & Co. used this AUMF to justify the Afghan invasion. That accounts for most of our troops fighting the Taliban.

Other troops are operating under UN-mandate to support the government of Afghanistan.

Whether the Iraq invasion was illegal or not, the war is over. That was my point.

Where I live, marines and ex-marines proliferate. As soon as someone mentions ‘war’ they start saluting their Commander-in-Chief. ‘End the war’ arguments bring the rebuttal ‘but we’re winning’.

Arguing against the continued ‘occupation’ of Iraq is much more likely to stop their automatic response and get them to listen, IMHO.

15. willo December 4th, 2007 1:37 pm

Good statement, I agree completely. War crimes trials for the perpatrators and their enablers.

16. locust December 4th, 2007 1:42 pm

And the ‘war on terror’, which was announced by Bush but never declared by Congress, is unConstitutional and Bush should be impeached for abrogating Congress’s Constitutional war-making power.

Bush & Co. increasingly use this ‘war’ as justification for everything everywhere, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Somalia to home-town USA.

17. mightygorg December 4th, 2007 2:52 pm

Right on the money.

TV news has never been the same with out you Walter. You are a true national treasure…

The people must take to the streets with massive demonstrations to make themselves heard.

It seems the Internet generation somehow thinks that typing on their computer will end the war.

18. choochoojustice December 4th, 2007 3:22 pm

Great article , thank you Walter for your wise advise. It seems for the past few years the american people have tried to make their voices heard by the mass protests in the major cities to end this insane occupation but congress refuses to listen and act and have gone along with the Bush administration even with the newly elected congress. How much more can our voices be heard ? I`ve come to the conclusion that things will not shift until the american people have had enough and decide to do something really brave like elect some true leaders in congress and throw out people like Nancy Pelosi and elect some level headed individuals like Cindy Sheehan. When its been decided that impeachment is off the table , it gives a clear messsage that they can do anything they want and this is becoming ever so clear. This is not right, and in the near future when we will look back at history to these times , the children will be asking why we were so asleep…What did we do to end this madness? How come we didn`t learn from the other huge mistake of Viet Nam? This war is not fair to the future generations , not fair to the iraqi people, not fair to the soldiers fighting and dying and not fair to the human spirit as a whole. i can see so many other ways to spend the billions and billions of dollars wasted each day to help make this planet and the inhabitants a much better home for all. It is indeed time to wake up before its too late.

19. KEM PATRICK December 4th, 2007 3:23 pm

The only ones I see who are close, are Keith Olberman and Lou Dobbs. I do hope our truly National Treasure of the media, is scheduled for some news programs this week and next. Even Fox could not make him appear to be wrong.

Wouldn’t it be great, if Walter Cronkite was to address our Congress on this most important issue? __ It certainly would be.

20. tja1952 December 4th, 2007 3:26 pm

Amazing how Walter Cronkite can put the entire Iraq fiasco into just a few paragraphs. Every American should read this article. Voters should just CLEAN HOUSE in 2008! Any politicians in favor of continuing the war, are also in favor of bankrupting the United States. All of them will be voted out in 2008, I hope. The people who reelected Bush in 2004 have proven that they’re really too dumb to vote…but seriously folks, lets vote all these people out in 2008…it should have been done in 2004…we’d have saved a hell of a lot of money! Indict Bush & Cheney!

21. tja1952 December 4th, 2007 3:29 pm

Too bad we can’t verify the 2004 election. If we could, maybe we could tax the people who voted Republican like three times more than everyone else…..to help pay for it! Anyone who voted for Bush can pay my share of the war!

22. forextrader December 4th, 2007 3:51 pm

KEMPATRICK: “The only ones I see who are close, are Keith Olberman and Lou Dobbs. I do hope our truly National Treasure of the media, is scheduled for some news programs this week and next. Even Fox could not make him appear to be wrong.

Wouldn’t it be great, if Walter Cronkite was to address our Congress on this most important issue? __ It certainly would be.”

Reply: I’m with you on Olberman, but you sure as hell have lost me on Dobbs. He’s a Bill O’Reilly wannabe xenophobe who defends Bush shills like Judy Miller and John Bolton (former UN ambassador). He loves people like Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo.

23. Artist General December 4th, 2007 3:52 pm

The Original Watershed Moment Of National Broadcast Media Truth (That Walter-Cronkite-Type-Event in Journalism)

24.Roy Eidelson December 4th, 2007 3:58 pm

Manipulation of public sentiment has been at the very heart of the White House’s entire Iraq war enterprise, and it will likely have a similar role in any enduring U.S. presence there. For those interested in a psychological analysis of this warmongering, I have recently completed a short YouTube video entitled “Resisting the Drums of War.” It examines how the Bush administration’s messaging targets five core concerns that often govern our lives–concerns about vulnerability, injustice, distrust, superiority, and helplessness. The video describes their warmongering appeals and offers suggestions for how to counter them. It’s available for viewing HERE.

25. fpal December 4th, 2007 4:04 pm

There will be a U.S. military presence in Iraq long into the future, 50+ years (same as Korea).

The American government has poured billions into building military bases and a massive embassy. They will not leave these behind. They will not leave the oil behind. They will not leave a threat to Israel behind.

Mr. Cronkite/Krieger, I agree with every point you made except your desire that “…the American people make their voices heard…” They will not because they are untouched by this war, at present. They will feel economic impact in 2-3 years.

26. Paul Bramscher December 4th, 2007 4:06 pm

The crux of the problem is that neither this administration, nor the start of the war (under King George I) were democratic in nature.

On what basis do we have to believe that democracy makes a difference now? There’s clearly a powerful nexus of the MSM, MIC, AIPAC, Bilderbergs/Trilaterals/PNAC/CFN groups. They do what they want.

27. nspire December 4th, 2007 4:21 pm

ROY EIDELSON — Thank you so very much for posting your web site, as I had lost my bookmark. You are one our country’s unsung heros, and mine, for facing off against the beast.

Your research deserves everybody’s attention to combat the divisive and controlling propaganda.
Mahatma Gandhi

« We must be the change we wish to see in the world » « There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed »

28. purvis ames December 4th, 2007 4:32 pm

“Step two is to remove our military bases from Iraq and to turn Iraqi oil over to Iraqis.”

Really, Walter, how naive can you get? Did you ever think we were there to “liberate” the Iraqi people? We are there and there for one reason only – to steal their oil via armed robbery. The permanent plutocracy doesn’t intend to leave Iraq. Ever. The Dims and the Repugs are both the running dogs of their corporate masters and will talk about withdrawal plans ad nauseum hoping the American public will finally forget all about it.

29. abbybwood December 4th, 2007 4:47 pm

Let’s not forget the suicide epidemic happening with thousands of veterans taking their lives in the past several years upon returning home.

Their lives should be added to the list of soldiers who have given their lives for this corporate war of aggression to control natural resources.

This is what we are all about now. Resource wars. What a sad, shameful time to be an American. But you’d never know it listening to any of the Democrats running for President. Except Kucinich and Gravel.

Going along to get along. How do they sleep at night?

30. vinlander December 4th, 2007 4:51 pm

One of the good things about being over 40 is you probably have a memory of Walter Cronkite giving you the news every night. Journalism never was a more noble profession than during his broadcasts.

And as LBJ said, “”If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost America.” I wonder if Mr. Bush knows it.

31. jjpeter December 4th, 2007 5:29 pm

Walter Cronkite will never get the medal of Freedom from bushcon. They have besmirched and sullied the very notion of exceptional service in the National interest.

32. KEM PATRICK December 4th, 2007 6:07 pm

I don’t agree with all of Lou Dobbs opinions on all people FOREXTRADER, I just believe he is truthful about issues and hammers on issues and covers important issues. He sure slams the Bush administration daily.

33.5280 December 4th, 2007 6:23 pm

Thank you Walter. Thank goodness you’re still with us. My only hope is that you’ll be around long to see some justice done to these criminals, all of them, dems and the repubs.

As for the Courics, Williams, whatever is on ABC and the dregs from cable. Go to hell you spineless worms. You’re worthless.

Yes, indeed, bring the troops home, and send them to D.C. –to evict these bastards. (since voting won’t do it anymore)

34. KEM PATRICK December 4th, 2007 6:23 pm
PURVIS, I sure would never, ever, SUGGEST Walter Cronkite was naive. On the contrary.
Show us a person who has more honesty and common sense on any issue.

Cronkite didn’t say Bush would do any of the thnigs that should be done. He just in a very brief essay, explaniied what SHOULD be done and why they should. Perhaps you weren’t around when he anchored the best news team we ever had. Much of his reporting and astute opinions, were why Americans woke up and went against the administration and the war in Vietnam.

Someone wrote, We will feel the economics of the war in Iraq in a couple of years. I really do believe we have noticed it for a couple of years already. I also don’t believe we will even be a nation in a couple of years because of it if we don’t get our asses out of there now. Will Bush pull out? __ Never! Not unless Congress either impeaches him as is their sworn duty to do, or stops funding the war.

35. KEM PATRICK December 4th, 2007 6:55 pm

36. Post Rational December 4th, 2007 7:16 pm

I grew up watching Walter “tell me how it was” and I never had reason to doubt him. I always thought he would be a great President. I’ve even voted for him a few times (as a write in) when I just couldn’t hold my nose tight enough to vote for either major candidate.

All the talking heads on TV today, combined, don’t have 1/2 the credibility or gravitas of Walter Cronkite.

Reporters like him no longer exist. They have been replaced by propagandists reading polished scripts meant more to scare than inform. “And thats the way it is”

37. juanito1948 December 4th, 2007 9:06 pm

Walter ought to get together with his old pal Roger Mudd as well as Bill Moyers and all three should then go see Jimmy Carter and when they all have a press conference and call for the impeachment of both Bush and Cheney, perhaps the Congress will follow suit. Major Dems are still so afraid that they’ll get dusted with anthrax (from Fort Dietrich). They need a push. The two prevaricating bastards need to be frog marched out of the White House.