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November 26, 2005

Great! So we're in agreement then!

U.S. to draw down troop levels:

President Bush will give a major speech Wednesday at the U.S. Naval Academy in which aides say he is expected to proclaim the improved readiness of Iraqi troops, which he has identified as the key condition for withdrawing U.S. forces.

I mean, hasn't it been more than a little preposterous for Republicans to complain that anyone who didn't think that we should just be there forever was a traitor, or a coward? And now they're just following the national mood. Why? Because they have to.

See, it doesn't matter what the Republicans want, or what they want the public to want. We still live in a democracy, and they get spooked when folks get sick of the war and accompanying lies. Josh Marshall nails it: Really, the only thing left is the face-saving -- whatever's left of that fabulous face. And the draw-down will have to begin before the '06 elections.

Really, this is a victory for the anti-Iraq-war pro-sanity side -- and reality finally caught up with BushCo. But this also leaves us with a decision, at the intersection between policy and politics:

  • Should national leaders temporarily soften their language on Bush and Cheney, making it easier for them to do the right thing by allowing them to save face? You know, "We're glad the president has taken this preliminary step to finishing the job in Iraq," etc. (This strategy can easily be reversed in time for the elections, since in any event, the Republicans do need to be held accountable.)
  • Or, should relentless pressure and criticism be kept up, since that's how we got to this place to begin with?
  • Or both? Good cop/bad cop?

Morally and strategically, I don't think withdrawal is a cut-and-dry issue. The Iraqi forces are clearly not ready -- that would take several years under the best of circumstances.  We could be looking at a situation of real civil war -- even worse than what's there now, more on the model of Yugoslavia or the India/Pakistan partition. Murtha thinks that the U.S. is only making the problem worse, with some obvious justification ... but worse than what? Does unimaginably worse chaos ensue, this time with real security implications for the U.S.?

So, insofar as pro-sanity politics influences policy ... What do we want? Only horrible choices remain.

Posted by Charley on the MTA at 07:40 PM in National | Permalink

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