Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Stay the Course? Really?

It is beginning to look like we will be in Iraq for the rest of our lives, or at least past that point when we will care what is happening outside whatever cardboard box we end up in during our final days on this planet.

A year ago, just four years into a war we should never have started, we were all being told we couldn't leave Iraq.

Not then.

Not with all that bad news. Imagine how much worse it could be if we leave, they told us...

Not when the streets of major Iraqi cities were aflame with sectarian violence, the Sunni triangle was in alliance with AQI, the Sadrist militia was in charge of Basra and defying the Maliki government, that government was completely ineffective, and Iraqi security forces were running away from their posts.

I read in The New Yorker today a piece by George Packer, and I am sorry to say we still can't leave Iraq.

Not now.

Not when the streets of major Iraqi cities are finally peaceful, the Sunnis have broken with AQI and are helping to fight the terrorists, the Sadrists have surrendered Basra and have ceased fighting the government, the Maliki government has won new credibility and is beginning to make some progress towards resolution of its major political disputes (revenue sharing, debathification, etc), and Iraqi security forces have proven themselves in operations across Iraq.

No - not now, according to Packer. Not with all this good news from Iraq. Imagine how bad it would be to leave now, and jeopardize all these positive developments?

According to Packer, Obama should abandon his timetable for withdrawal. He should revise his plans and adapt to the new conditions in Iraq. He should stay in Iraq and find an honorable end to the war. In other words, continue the Bush strategy indefinitely.

Stay the course. More of the same. Thank you, George Packer.

Is that a change we can believe in?

posted at 6:51:00 AM by Neil

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