On This Day In History, The Kurds Begged U.S. Forces To Stay In Iraq

The debate now, as Islamists seize cities in Iraq, is whether U.S. forces should still be there—or whether it was a good idea to have gone in the first place.

An interesting historical fact: On this day in history, June 14, 1991, over a thousand desperate Kurds descended on a U.S. military base in Dohuk, a city in northern Iraq not far from the Turkish border, “pleading with American troops not to withdraw,” as the BBC put it.

It was the end of the Gulf War, and “Kurdish leaders have called on allied forces to remain in the country indefinitely, fearing retaliation from the Iraqi army,” the BBC reported at the time.

The Iraqi army has always been a peculiar creature—feared as a tool of nasty internal repression under Saddam Hussein but, in both Iraq wars (and now, in its de-Ba’athified form, against Islamist terrorists) a force prone to cowardice and desertion.

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