My Iraq Proposal: Send The Iraqis Back To The Ballot Box

July 12, 2007

Why not have the Iraqis vote on whether US forces should stay or leave?

This is a question I’ve been kicking around for quite some time.  I know I’ve posted it on other sites in the past (possibly years ago) , but my searching for a link came up empty.  I know that I’m not the only one who has proposed this, though.  In fact, during the search for my own comments, I discovered that this concept has been put forth my members of both the left and the right.  The most recent time I heard it somewhere other than my own head was when Dennis Prager said it on the radio a little while ago.  In light of all the talk about the report on those Iraqi “benchmarks”, I thought this would make an excellent topic for debate on my blog, so here goes…

Consider all the hyping that Bush and the gang has done on the “historic” elections that sent “millions of Iraqis” to the ballots as a sign that the vast majority of them embrace freedom and democracy.  Well, I think it may be time for another one of those “historic” moments.  But unlike Jonah Goldberg, I think either outcome would be a winning scenario.

 If the Iraqis say “leave”, we win.  Or, more accurately, we don’t “lose”.  All the talk about victory and defeat would be cast aside, since our leaving would be dictated by a vote rather than something that happened on the battlefield.  In other words, democracy wins, not al Qaeda.  It’s certainly a better way to end the occupation than cutting off funding or just pulling out under political pressure.  It would also silence those in the Middle East (or elsewhere) who claim we invaded for oil or as an assault on Islam, as well as anyone who wanted to blame us for the consequences of the pullout.  Our troops can come home with dignity knowing that Saddam is dead, the WMD threat is gone, and they’ve helped the Iraqi people to the best of their abilities.  Americans at home will be glad to see them back.

If the Iraqis say “stay”, we win.  Overnight, we’ll find ourselves armed with a renewed sense of legitimacy in the eyes of ordinary Americans, our troops, the Iraqis, and the world.  It would also marginalize and frustrate the insurgency, as they would now be faced with the realization that they are the unwanted ones (something that in and of itself may bring the conflict to an end sooner).  In Washington, the war could no longer be used as a political punching bag, and probably mend some of the divisions that have opened over this whole thing. 

Of course, there are those who would look at the outcome in a political context here domestically (good for the Dems, bad for the Repubs, etc.), but if we can get past that it’s kind of hard to find downsides in this idea, at least from a purely idealist standpoint.  There are probably elements or considerations that I’m not thinking of, however, so I encourage readers to voice your opinion on this.


  1. Great idea. However, it will never happen because:

    No matter that both the people here in the US and the people in Iraq want US troops out BOTH governments want US troops to stay…

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

  2. According to all pols over 70% Iraqis want US troops out of their country including US installed puppet government.

  3. Why not, but stay where majorities want us and in small tactical areas for some time. Decrease the troop levels just a little, and pull back to such areas, Kurdistan would be the largest. Then, the people would be peaceful and cooperative where we were and we could protect areas we neded from the subsequent consequences of pulling out, among other benefits.

  4. Just so you guys know, I have been a pretty vocal opponent to the invasion from day 1, but I’m really trying to remove the partisan goggles and take a moderate viewpoint with this post. I think that most of the debate over the war here at home(and the various talking points that get slung about) have been geared more towards scoring political points than trying to do what’s best for America. That goes for both sides. So I guess I’m throwing this out there as an idea that might have some common ground politically (which might actually make it’s implementation more realistic), since we can’t really undo what’s been done to this point.


    No matter that both the people here in the US and the people in Iraq want US troops out BOTH governments want US troops to stay…

    You’re probably right, but it really isn’t going to happen if no one is talking about it openly. Bring the question up in the debates. Ask about it at a WH press conference. etc. It needs to appear in the mainstream conversation first. So, I guess I’m just trying to do my part here. 🙂

  5. I could be wrong, but didn’t Bush say something along these lines once?

  6. A vote will not matter at all. The Bush administration isn’t interested in doing what’s right. They are only interested seeing their collectively pig-headed agenda to its logical and absurd conclusion. I believe strongly that if the Iraqi people did vote “us” out, the Bush administration would find some draconian reason for staying! I think what most people fail to realize is that the conservative ideology regarding war ,in general, will never die becuase it is chained to the ego and testosterone of most American males. These are the same people who support the NRA even it they endorse selling weapons to people on the terrorist watch list,and also the people whose idea of relaxation is drinking cheap beer while watching the military channel on cable. They listen to the likes of Michael Weiner “aka” Michael Savage and Glenn Beck on talk radio and never admit they’re wrong even when 68% of the American people think they are (mostly women by the way). You want to stage a vote? How about we vote out all the Democrats who ran on an anti-war platform, then proceeded to wilt in the face of King George when they could have easily cut war funding. And this is why conservatives keep saying liberals have no backbone – because we don’t.

  7. There’s only so much we can do in Congress. No way we can pass anything that is veto-proof. The Republicans wouldn’t go along with cutting funding. Until Bush is out of office, we’re stuck in a no-win situation.

  8. Chen Zhen the “what do do now in Iraq as we are already there” was Bush regime new sound bite after when their all previous slogans proved to be wrong. When US did not find any WMD the Republicans changed the subject with new line “world is better place without Saddam” and when that proved to be wrong. The new slogan was “we are fighting for democracy and freedom of Iraqis”. We all know that this is all BS. The world is not a better place without Saddam. The US is the occupation force in Iraq not the liberation force.

    There is no quick fix for Iraq, the violence killing will continue if US stays in Iraq and it will continue if they withdraw. Bush and Dick with 70% of Americans along with House and Senate are responsible for creating this mess which they themselves don’t know how to fix it.

  9. I really like your idea! That would be a democracy in fact.. but it will never happen.

  10. The Democrats could have cut war funding or at least delayed it with a simple majority vote. They chose not to. That is why Cindy Shhehan wants to run against Nancy Pelosi. She’s upset with the Democrats as I am. This war is a complex dynamic that involves oil, corporate campaign money, the conservative power elite running this country, Bush’s ego and the looming threat of Iran. Withdrawing troops will not be realized unless something drastic happens.

  11. Why not have have the Iraqis vote on whether US forces should stay or leave?

    It was about as good an idea as the Athenians voting on whether Socrates had to die or not. Democracy in Action as they say.

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