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Has the U.S. left Iraq in a manageable state?

August 19th, 2010
02:32 PM ET

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/19/ctwleavingiraq.jpg caption="A line of Strykers convoy in the early hours of Aug. 16, 2010, as part of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, United States Division-Center's last patrol through Iraq as they leave theater. "]

The last U.S. brigade combat team has left the country more than seven years after combat forces entered Iraq. Even though there are still about 56,000 U.S. troops in the country, this departure helps U.S. President Barack Obama reach his goal of reducing the numbers of troops in Iraq to 50,000 by September 1.

On Connect The World at 2000 GMT, we look at current conditions in Iraq: the state of Iraq's government, electricity outages and other utility problems and a recent uptick in violence.

So do you think the U.S. has left a country that Iraqis themselves can manage? And do you think Iraq is better off today than it was under Saddam Hussein?

If you are a veteran of the Iraq war, we'd like to hear from you. Do you think this is the right move for the U.S. at the right time? Do you feel the American presence in Iraq has helped there in the long term? What do you wish the U.S. would have done differently, if anything?

Also, are you an Iraqi expat? If you had to leave to Iraq, we would like you to weigh in today's draw down of troops. Do you plan to come back to Iraq now? What conditions would have to change to have you come back?

Leave us all your thoughts on this subject in our comments section below and we'll feature some of them on tonight's program.

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soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello CNN friends,

    No, U.S. forces should Not leave,
    But U.S. forces should work for 3 months abroad to protect and build Iraq and
    get released by other shift teams for 3 months,
    so that the soldiers can spend More Time with their Families and
    Improve their Homeland Security!

    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname

    August 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  2. USNavy Retired

    Right from the start, the GWB government was wrong. Except for killing Saddam Hussein, we have NOT attained any single objective. The U.S. made s a mess out of the country, daily violence is still the order of the day and it got worsened. All we are doing now is face-saving before we completely pull out of Iraq. I feel sad about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of U.S.troops who have perished in this unjustifiable war. Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld and all those involved in the planning should be made accountable and brought to trial before the UN International Court of Justice as WAR Criminals.

    August 19, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  3. Allen Penney

    It certainly does not take an expert or some would-be analyst to see the current conditions in Iraq and the part the U.S. has played and will continue to play in this fiasco. How can any immediate efforts take hold in Iraq? Before America's illegal intrusion into Iraq (this last time) there was managed chaos in Iraq; now there is just chaos. No one person/group/faction is in control and will not be for another decade I fear. There is and has been ever since Bush declared combat operations OVER, very concerted efforts on the part of Iraq's neighbors to escalate the civil war that was managed during Sadam's reign to settle centuries old feuds and weaken America. America must start to understand that our government's central efforts and budget should be to protect Americans and our borders; not bankrupt us in global conflicts that only serve to strengthen the wallets of the wealthy. We cannot change what has happened but we better change the direction this country is headed in. I believe we must close every foreign U.S. military base, bring all American military personnel home (including Afghanistan), place the trillions of dollars currently being spent on these bad investments and protect our immediate borders. Start putting Americans back to work rather than out-sourcing our children;s future away to China. We have to start telling the world the truth; "WE screwed up in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are sorry for all the pain and suffering we have caused, we will no longer be the world's quasi-police force and we will now be concentrating on America and the re-building our country needs."

    August 19, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  4. yves

    What do I think about USA and Iraq War?
    Simple Answer:
    Waste of money and waste of lives!!

    August 19, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  5. Dennis

    At least with Saddam in power you had a counter balance to Iran. Now that Iraq is much weaker, Iran does not have to worry about an enemy right on their borders and has become the strongest influence in the region. We really did Iran a big favor in removing the treat of their biggest enemy. As for Iraq, they are far worse off than under Saddam. He may have been a ruthless dictator, but he was a secular leader who allowed freedom of religion and other freedoms. He held the country together through force, murder and intimidation, but the country was in better shape than they are now with the total anarchy in much of the country. Did we do the right thing going in to Iraq, no, but we did the right thing to stay to give them a fighting chance at survival.

    August 19, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  6. Rafa

    It looks to politically driven , the departure is too quick and leave the goverment of Irak too vulnerable... the history repeats again, politicians making military desicion that we will all regret in a near future. My thought are with our military personnel that always gives their lives for a cause of freedom and liberty. God bless our military personnel!!!! And history will let us know if we did the correct desicions...

    August 19, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  7. JK Dutt

    There is a recrudescence today of imperialism in the world, led by the USA and supported by its principal chum UK. How could these two leading (so called?) democracies decide to invade Iraq, a country that has never been a threat to either? How could the American and the British parliaments and people agree to this invasion unless all of them were in league to fuel imperialism? The joke is, the same USA backed the same Iraq when the latter was at war with Iran some while ago!
    The only effective deterrent against such modern day Hitler-Mussolini political predators is a nuclear arsenal, a fact that North Korea demonstrated to good effect. Iran is now following suit in securing such a deterrent.
    We should wind up that toothless tiger, the United Nations.

    August 19, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  8. Angela, Alaska

    As I drive down a main road on the massive Victory Base Complex, I am struck by the column of MRAPs, uparmored 1114s and soldiers geared up to continue the mission. Now that Obama magically waves his wand and proclaims it over what about them?

    They are still here. You think the enemy will stop shooting at them? Or trying to blow them up, or leave the Iraqi Army and Police to guard the country in peace? How we got here can be examined in historical context – dispassionately, but don't let them fool you into thinking this is over. How we got here doesn't matter to these soldiers – what matters is where we go next.

    Young men and women will still be hurt and killed – but the media can proclaim a hollow victory in withdrawal from a war they never wanted and try to reshape by skewed reporting daily about the facts here. But this war ends when they all come home – not before.

    August 19, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  9. Gordon Lee

    When you have made a terrible mistake, your ONLY option is to cut your losses and run. No WMD's no valid excuse for the war in Iraq. Over four thousand Americans killed at a cost of a billion dollars a week, for all these years. No thanks, if that's leadership I'll take vanilla please.

    August 19, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  10. mary

    Apparently Saddam was the savior in people's mind. But people forget too soon that he had the same conquering desires of ruthless dictators to go abroad and conquer land to torture more people under their mandate. And Iran is strong today because the USA under Carter, turned their back on the Sha just like he did with other parts of LatinAmerica that turned to socialism and are the countries that send more drug into the US. So do not blame the Republican party for everything that happens in the world.

    August 19, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Reply
  11. Theresa

    Well, our options were to let Sadaam Hussein run us, with his refusals to allow inspections. He had evidence of illegal weapons manufacture and the U.N. wanted to do nothing about it. So, I guess the U.N. wants to be toothless panty-waists when it comes to making sure people can't re-attack their neighbors and our allies. It's not like Kuwait wasn't going to be attacked again. So, Iraq might be messed up, but it's not like it was some kind of peaceful helpful place before we got there. ANd it does appear that there was coordination with Al Qaeda beforehand. Iraqis are kind of wimps and will do not whatis best for their country long-term, but go with whoever pays them the most to be a traitor is fine with them. So, good call you Bush haters. I'm sure Obama would have done much better since he' so great at making decisions now.

    August 19, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Reply

    The insurgency tactics are to debilitate the USA by mantaining violent warfare causing the USA and other nations to keep expending billons of $ creating a budget disbalance in their domestic economy. It is a good presidential desition to get out of Irak. Billions will be saved this way...

    August 19, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Reply
  13. JDQ

    The invasion of Iraq was a mistake of monumental proportions. That said, it does not in any way denigrate the honorable service of the armed services who served there and the sacrifices they and their families have made. The mistakes and, in my opinion, criminal stupidity, belongs entirely to the Bush administration personnel who sent them there. The waste of American resources and the resources of our allies is stupendous. The cost in lives and treasure was horrendous. Those who have profited, and we know who they are, deserve to rot in hell. Meanwhile, what we could have accomplished in Afghanistan has been forced to the sideline or made impossible by the diversion to Iraq. Whether or not the Iraqi people are or will be better off will be for them to decide and implement, if they have the will to make it happen. If they follow the example of such nations who have risen to full and prosperous modernity, such as Turkey, they will succeed. If they succumb to corruption and factionism as in the past, they will fail themselves. Only time will tell.

    August 19, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Reply
  14. Abdulla

    I asked my Iraqi colleaque to give me an honest comparison of Iraq before and after the American invasion. He said therre were'nt too much money before but everything was available. Now nothing is available food, electricity, water. They never felt any division among them before, now every one is divided, even to family units let alone Sunny Shia divisions.

    He said thanks to America in making the cradle of civilization into a barbarous jungle of violence.

    August 19, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Reply
  15. Keira

    In a manageable state? No. However, we all know it was a mistake going to Iraq. Saddam could've been removed at any other time. No WMD's, no Al-Qaeda, no connection to 9/11.That is an epic fail! Having said, I'm all for rebuilding the mess we created and help the Iraqi people w/ their basic needs. No such thing as 'mission accomplished'. Sorry, but we botched this one!


    August 19, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  16. Nostromo45

    Absolutely agree with Abdulla.
    The Americans begin their withdrawal – but without any idea of the political and social turmoil they are leaving behind. Today in Iraq – and other Islamic Arab countries – these people do not know how to live in peace with each other – let alone with "infidels" from outside.
    George W. Bush left his tenancy with the world in a terrible state due to his own blindness, stupidity and dictatorial arrogance.
    ¿And now you want Obama to clear up everything?
    Obama is not a magician. The killings in the street with suicide bombers will not end because the last "invading" forces of the USA are leaving – they will go on, and probably increase. Great territory for Al Qaeda to expand its activities.
    So what has the US gained from its lengthy intervention in Iraq?
    NOTHING – just the death of its despot leader Saddam Hussein, as well as the death of thousands of "invading" forces.
    And Afghanistan will go the same way: there is no way US-led forces of the UN are ever going to "tame" the Taliban, tribal rivalry, Al Qaeda hidden among the rocks. The only thing they will achieve is to exacerbate the situation, increase anti-west thinking, generate more hatred – even among themselves, so that more extreme radicalism develops among so-called "Islamics", which will only produce more attacks on the "civilized" (sic) western world.
    No, USA:- you are not the world's policeman, even with President Barak Hussein Obama – the first intelligent president you have had in many years.

    August 19, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Reply
  17. masaccio

    Time will tell if the US intervention in Iraq was indeed visionary, or if it was merely a short minded oil grab and profit maker for no-bid US-only contractors. I sadly suspect the latter is true when one considers who made up the Bush/Cheney administration.

    It is hard to comprehend that in the four and a half years of WWII the United States fielded 13-million men under arms, built a gigantic two ocean navy and fantastic air armada, developed the B-29 and Manhatten Projects, and defeated facism in two parts of the globe. Then afterwards had the vision to rebuild Europe and grant it's servicemen the GI Bill.

    Yet, after seven-years of squandered US treasure totalling many billions of dollars, thousands of US/NATO soldiers lives lost, and uncountable civilian deaths, all we have to show for this fiasco is a busted infrastructure, a government that is corrupt, and an inept Iraqi military and police force that can't contain its own Islamic extremist and thugs. Sad.

    August 19, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Reply
  18. Mohamed

    Is Iraq now in a manageable state ? WAS Iraq ever in a manageable state? I personally do not think so. But then again, is it anybody else business but the Iraqis ? the Facts ( and only the facts) prove that this war was wrong from all point of views. from the humanitarian, economical, strategic, geographic and the list goes on. No profit to anyone has made out of this so called "war". No one knew who is the enemy and who is the friend because NO ONE knew who were they suppose to fight against. it was simply a big mess.

    So i personally believe that the best thing to do is to leave citizen of a nation to determine if they ought to live in a dictatorship or in a democracy ot whatever government system they want to live under.

    August 19, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  19. Winkelman

    Unless you've actually been there you have no idea what you're talking about. You see one side of the story at best from news and people still feel the need to spew their biased opinions all over the place. I'm part of 4-2 ID, I was on the last patrol, and I can tell you that in 2 deployments I've seen a WORLD of difference. I've seen villages with food, green houses, irrigation. I've seen corruption rooted out, the Iraqi army stand up and start defending it's own nation. American can only do so much. It's on Iraqis to take care of their country now. Whatever the reason we went to Iraq in the first place, we had a job to do, and we did it.

    August 22, 2010 at 12:04 am | Reply
  20. Winkelman

    And as far as a "waste of lives," every single person volunteered to be there. I have my purple heart, I've been blown up twice. This is what I love to do. Don't take that away from me by calling it a "waste."

    August 22, 2010 at 12:07 am | Reply

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