"Mother Jones: Were we to withdraw from Iraq, what would be a reasonable time frame for doing so?
Colonel W. Patrick Lang: The question is whether or not you withdraw under combat conditions, as we did from Vietnam over a period of three and a half years. Everybody left in March of ’73. I was on the last scheduled flight. There was a period of two years when it was real quiet. The only Americans in the country were about 1,000 guys attached to the embassy. Then the North Vietnamese decided that the U.S. Congress was serious when it passed legislation forbidding any further assistance in South Vietnam. Then they went on the offensive and captured the country. I got to Vietnam the first time in March of ’68, and early in ’69 Nixon announced that we were going to withdraw in stages, what people call Vietnamization. We took the force down in about 20 phases. It was carefully worked out what would leave when and what parts of the country we would leave. That was under combat conditions. We took about 20,000 kills over the period of the evacuation and they lost a lot of people. So you have that possibility or you have the possibility of a largely administrative withdrawal. In Vietnam we turned most everything we had over the three and a half years of the withdrawal to the South Vietnamese army and air force. They lost it all to the North Vietnamese and the North Vietnamese made a lot of money off that. For about 10 years they sold spare parts and pieces of helicopters and things like that all over the world. There’s a lot of stuff in Iraq that the Army and the Marine Corps can’t afford to leave there. There are all these Abrams tanks. These tanks are unbelievably expensive. The Bradley fighting vehicles and a whole variety of artillery pieces need to be brought back to the States.
MJ: So we wouldn’t be likely to turn these pieces of equipment over to the Iraqis?" Mother Jones
The Spanish commenter "Elora Danan" (a pseudonym) found this interview that I did with "Mother Jones" in 2007. It covers a wide variety of topics concerning the war in Iraq. It was unusual for me to agree to be interviewed by a publication like "Mother Jones." I must have liked the interviewer. pl