(CNN) -- Removing U.S. troops from Iraq could be disastrous with far-reaching global implications, CNN analysts and other observers say.
Experts warn of potential consequences for leaving too soon: Sectarian violence could erupt, al Qaeda supporters could develop an international terror hub and the likely civil war could draw countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran into a broader conflict.
We asked CNN.com readers to sound off -- Would you support pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq if it meant triggering catastrophe? Four years in, is there a way for the U.S. to extract itself? (Send us your thoughts)
Below is a selection of the responses, some of which have been edited:
Robbin Anthony of Provo, Utah
Who are we kidding? The United States will ALWAYS be involved in the conflict in Iraq. The war in Iraq will be the cause of thousands and thousands of deaths and there is never going to be a positive way out for our troops. Whether we leave tomorrow or 10 years from now, it will make no difference -- a catastrophe is inevitable. We should just get used to the idea that our young people will just have to rotate in and out of the battle zone for many years to come. Perhaps if we can get enough armed Americans there they will be able to protect each other, but that is about our only hope.
Ron Vines of Mentor, Ohio
I am completely against a pullout at this time. Should we have ever gone to war, that's the big question. However, at this point, does it really matter? We are there, and somehow we need to finish the job. I have a son in the Marines who is over there patrolling every day in the Anbar Province, and he enlisted while still in high school because he believed in this mission. I for one, as well as my son, need to finish this mission.
If we pull out now, then all of our soldiers and Marines who were killed would have given their life for nothing. No one likes this. Let me repeat that, no one! But I for one support the president in vetoing the war spending bill.
Give our troops the money, change the rules of engagement, get this thing over with, and lets move on. Has everyone forgotten about 9/11? Let's finish the job, NOW!
Connie Lacher of St. Joseph, Minnesota
Why has it become the United States' responsibility to keep the Middle East stable? Let them fight their own battles and stop letting American soldiers fight and die for people who don't understand what a democracy is. The people in the United States have many needs of their own: Health care, housing and climate change, to name a few that could use the half a trillion dollars that has been spent fighting a war for people who first need to learn to accept each other.
Ron of Davis, California
Sorry to disagree with the esteemed experts on the dangers of moving the U.S. troops out, but on what topic have the experts been right? WMD? Niger yellowcake? Saddam-AQ-9/11 connection? Winnebagoes of death? Iraqis showering the troops with candy and flowers? A democratic Iraq would unleash the liberating power of democracy throughout the Middle East?
Bonnie O'Neil of Newport Beach, California
CNN experts confirmed what seemed obvious to me -- withdrawing our troops prematurely from Iraq could prove absolutely disastrous to Iraqi citizens, to the region, and to America. Our military MUST NOT pull out of Iraq until it is prudent and safe to do so. What could expedite stability is a strong united front by leaders, both political and religious, all over the world. As long as terrorists and those who support them are not openly, continually, and severely rebuked and made to suffer consequences for their unspeakable atrocities, they have no reason to stop. Terrorists have been helped by those who direct blame and criticism at President Bush instead of those who are truly guilty -- those who are directing and executing the carnage.
William Follansbee of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Going into Iraq was a colossal blunder of historic proportion and the strategic conduct of the war has been horribly mismanaged, but history will judge that. The soldiers in the field have performed superbly and have made a great sacrifice. While it was a blunder going in, we are now committed. Leaving before stability is achieved, no matter how long that might take, would be an even greater blunder. The basic premise of al Qaeda has always been that the U.S. is a paper tiger, too fat and spoiled to endure a long conflict. Are we to prove them right? What sacrifice has the average American made in this war? How can we celebrate our greatest generation, but not be willing to emulate their sacrifice?
Kevin Taylor of Greenwood, Indiana
As much as I am against the war I am also against a rapid withdrawal. What needs to be done is approach the situation as an all-out war. We need a massive troop increase armed with the best weapons we have. Then we must fight to win. The casualties will be high -- both ours and the Iraqi people's -- but we need to do this. We created this mess and we need to clean it up. We should also remind the countries of the Middle East the cost of our failure will be terrible for them.
Jim Barton of Winfield, British Columbia
There will be a catastrophe whenever the troops are pulled out, so "YES" do it now before the USA and the other troops are responsible for any more deaths! How would we feel if we were having the innocent civilians killed that the Iraqis are. The world can no longer be dominated by one nation with a big army. 9/11 proved that our leaders will have to find a way to co-exist with each other.
Antonio Espinoza of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
It was obviously a terrible mistake to invade Iraq in the first place. The U.S. government used two main arguments to assault Iraq. The first one: The never found mass destructions weapons, and the second one: The war against terror. But something arises very clearly -- the U.S. will be in greater danger if they do not stabilize the situation in Iraq. Good or bad, the [Saddam] Hussein government was also a brake for civil wars and other sectarian conflicts.
Eventually, U.S. forces will leave and North American people will pay the bill, because Iraq will be a no-law territory and a perfect place for terrorism organizations. It is sad what I say, but the U.S. government is gathering what it scattered.
Joe Gaston of Chicago, Illinois
Yes, it would be rash to withdraw too soon; however, withdrawing troops gradually over two years is an option that should be addressed. President Bush needs to realize that fighting the idea of terrorism cannot be won. [British Prime Minister] Tony Blair should have realized this before deploying with us into Iraq. Did force wipe out terrorism in Northern Ireland? No. It takes laborious diplomacy and intelligent, patient people to negotiate for change.
When we reacted with force into Afghanistan, Bush's rush to use the sword was supported. When the invasion of Iraq was justified by the administration, Bush's rush to use the sword was an ill-conceived notion from its inception. Now, we have to clean up our mess. However, those who are responsible for blunders in judgment should be held accountable. The truth will not set them free, but maybe our troops will be.
Craig Warden of Davis, California
I have no confidence in the ability of any "expert" to predict the outcomes of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. In fact, recent history suggests that negative predictions about the effects of withdrawal from a war can be exaggerated. Didn't the USA have years of debates about the negative impacts of withdrawal from Vietnam? The long-term effects of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam seem to be much better than the alternative, which might be that U.S. troops could still be fighting in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Thus, I think any "expert" predicting disastrous outcomes for withdrawal from Iraq needs to explain why withdrawal from Iraq would have worse consequences than resulted from withdrawal from Vietnam.
Diane Brown of Halifax, Nova Scotia
LIBERATION. That is what you must brand your effort. The war is over. The dictator has been deposed. It is all about the people now. The U.S. cannot do this alone. However, leaving the people of Iraq in worse shape than before the invasion cannot be accepted. Peace is the answer. The people of Iraq need help from all of us. Especially the Middle East. I suggest you promote the health of the children of Iraq. How can the world turn its back on these children? Let us teach these children to love each other.
Tom of Larkspur, Colorado
We should not pull out until Iraq is able to govern, police and defend itself. It will be disaster for us to pull out prematurely. We need to stay the course. Yes, we can extract ourselves, when there is a stable government in place. We have just begun to make progress and should not quit now that we are finally making some headway.