If keeping US troops in Iraq would be like keeping them in Korea, it’s a terrible idea by mattsteinglass
June 11, 2008, 11:54 pm
Filed under: Iraq, Korea

Matthew Yglesias notes that John McCain is back to analogizing our presence in Iraq to our presence in South Korea as a way of saying there’d be nothing wrong with an indefinite stay there for US troops. Matt concentrates on how terrible an analogy Korea is to Iraq, but that again misses the point. To reiterate, if Iraq is like Korea, then keeping our troops there for 60 years, as we have in Korea, would be a terrible idea. There are currently 80,000 protestors in the streets of Seoul burning American flags because the government has promised to allow American beef into the country. If you don’t understand how that kind of sentiment is related to the presence of US troops, then you need to read something about the history of the democracy movement in Korea. Keeping US troops in Iraq for decades would feed and nourish anti-Americanism in Iraq just as it has in Korea. And I cannot emphasis highly enough how important it is for everyone to watch “The Host”.

We kept our troops in South Korea from 1953-1989 because of a little thing called the Cold War. We’ve kept our troops there since 1989 (though gradually fewer of them) because North Korea remains a completely insane totalitarian state that poses a credible risk of staging a military attack on South Korea. But as such, the deployment of US troops to Korea produces negative diplomatic and political results and should have ended some time ago if not for these other considerations, and in a country like Iraq that faces no threat comparable to the threat South Korea faces, keeping US troops there is simply a bad idea.

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