Getting Out: Historical Perspectives on Leaving Iraq

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Michael Walzer, Nicolaus Mills
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009 - History - 158 pages
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Eventually every conqueror, every imperial power, every occupying army gets out. Why do they decide to leave? And how do political and military leaders manage withdrawal? Do they take with them those who might be at risk if left behind? What are the immediate consequences of departure? For Michael Walzer and Nicolaus Mills, now is the time to ask those questions about exiting—and to worry specifically about the difficulties certain to arise as we leave—Iraq.

Getting Out approaches these issues in two sections. The first, entitled "Lessons Learned," examines seven historical cases of how and how not to withdraw: Britain's departure from the American colonies and from India, the French withdrawal from Algeria, Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, and the U.S. decision to leave (or not leave) the Philippines, Korea, and Vietnam. These cases offer a comparative perspective and an opportunity to learn from the history of political and military retreats.

The second section, "Exiting Iraq," begins with an introduction to just how the United States got into Iraq and continues with an examination of how the U.S. might leave from a diversity of voices, ranging from those who believe that the Iraq war has produced no real good to those who hope for a decent ending. In addition to essays by volume editors Walzer and Mills, Getting Out features contributions by Shlomo Avineri, Rajeev Bhargava, David Bromwich, Frances FitzGerald, Stanley Karnow, Brendan O'Leary, George Packer, Todd Shepard, Fred Smoler, and Stanley Weintraub.


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No Exit but Victory Britain and the American Colonies
America and the Philippines The Graceful Withdrawal
India and Britain The Consequences of Leaving Too Soon
The Surprising Success The United States and Korea
France and Algeria Claim Victory and Au Revoir
Vietnam and the United States The Price of Intransigence
The Gates of Gaza and the Limits of Power Israel and Gaza
911 and the Road to Iraq
The Persistence of Empire
Departing Responsibly
It Isnt Over
List of Contributors

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About the author (2009)

Michael Walzer is Professor Emeritus in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and editor of Dissent. He is the author of many books, including Just and Unjust Wars and, most recently, Thinking Politically: Essays in Political Theory. Nicolaus Mills is Professor of Literature and American Studies at Sarah Lawrence College. A long-time contributor to Dissent magazine, his most recent book is Winning the Peace: The Marshall Plan and America's Coming of Age as a Superpower.

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