By the time you read this, George will have announced his intention to send another 20,000+ troops into Iraq. Here are two reasons to resist this that you are unlikely to read in the mainstream media.
1. Climate change.
The first reason to pull out of Iraq is that spending there makes it difficult to afford research into alternative energy. As long as we're spending $100 billion a year in Iraq, we can't afford a serious program to transform our energy policy. We need the equivalent of a NASA program - billions of dollars in funding - to support an array of solutions to the problem of carbon dioxide build up. Just to stabilize carbon dioxide levels - not even reduce them - we need to cut carbon dioxide emissions by about 75% across the globe. This is not going to happen without serious investment in creative solutions. As long as we are pumping $100 billion a year into Iraq (a soon to be greater number, presumably, as Bush gets his surge in troop levels), funding for such programs is unlikely to emerge. This alone is reason enough to stop funding the aggravation of Iraqis and continuing to place our troops in harm's way as if they were the ducks at a shooting gallery, but there is another.
Oil money from developed countries helps undeveloped countries to get money without modernizing. Our dependence on oil finances extremists in the Middle East, effectively subsidizing their refusal to modernize. Islam does encourage violent extremism, as did medieval Christianity. There is, however, one really big difference between the two. Christians could not enjoy economic advance without choosing to ignore traditions and teachings that contradicted progress. That is, they had to generate their own source of economic progress and fostering economic modernity required accepting philosophical modernity. Burning witches is one way to attempt an increase in crop yield, but it won't be as effective as adopting steel plows or fertilizer. The communities that cling to superstition about witches are going to have so little in resources in comparison to the communities that adopt the scientific method that those superstitious communities will be of little threat. Primitive communities may have dangerous philosophies, but their technology will not be dangerous. By contrast, Muslim states sitting atop of oil can cling to dangerous philosophies while earning enough income to finance dangerous technology. (Think of Iran and its nuclear program.) If they did not have oil revenues, they would face two paths: cling to religious authority in lieu of modernity and be of little threat because they would not have the resources or technology to become a threat; or modernize in thought and, consequently, technology and be of little threat because they now rely upon reason instead of religious extremism. As it is, they can refuse to modernize even while buying modern weaponry.
As long as we don’t sever our dependence on oil, we don’t force the Middle East to sever its dependence on religious extremism. Our continued reliance on oil effectively subsidizes the Middle East's continued reliance upon outdated, dangerous, and otherwise bankrupting ideologies.
The biggest problem with continuing to pursue an Iraqi policy that has yet to accomplish any of its stated goals? It continues to distract us from real issues, only two of which are listed above.