NBC contradicts Bush's dire troop withdrawal scenario
"What would happen in Iraq if U.S. troops just got up and left?" asked Matt Lauer in an NBC Today Show report on President Bush's stated intent to veto a bill sent to him by Congress that would impose a timeline for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.
President Bush has warned that a pullout would lead to "diaster," causing an escalation of the civil war and sparking a broader regional war and an emboldening of Al Qaeda. But NBC's report questions those claims.
"The region has become more dangerous because we've been there; the longer we stay the more dangerous it will become," said former National Security Agency direction Lt. Gen. William Odom on the prospect of a heightened civil war.
"I think when you really scrub it, the prospects for outside intervention and a regional war are actually pretty slim," said William Reidel, who worked in both the Clinton and Bush National Security Council.
As for the prospect of an "emboldened" Al Qaeda, Odom suggested that terrorists now in Iraq are less concerned with transnational terrorist activities than with their domestic conflict. "They're homegrown Iraqi terrorists who are much more concerned with winning the civil war in Iraq," said Odom. Added Reidel, "Once you take away the American occupation, Al Qaeda's gonna find that it has an awful lot of enemies in Iraq, people whom it has walked over in the last few years and who are gonna want revenge."