Getting The Heck Out Of Iraq
August 1, 2006 - 11:22am ET
Popular This Week
Also Worth Reading
Better late than never. With the midterm elections less than 100 days away, and after months of disunity on the topic, Democrats have finally arrived at a coherent position on the war in Iraq. With the costs mounting—in thousands of American and Iraqi lives and billions of U.S. tax dollars—Hill Democrats are finally listening to what many have long been calling for: starting the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq before the year's end. And for that, I applaud them.
Yes, most of these lawmakers voted to authorize Bush's use of force when the disastrous results we're now witnessing were widely predicted by centrist national security wonks (remember Brent Scowcroft?). And yes, many are only now coming around to opposing the war because it's politically expedient. But, nonetheless, I welcome them to the cause. Why we started this war matters, but what matters most now is how we end it.
In their new position, Democrats are heedng the advice of insider pollsters, like James Carville and Stan Greenberg, who report in their latest "strategy memo " that voters want politicians who will offer a "new course" in Iraq. To wit, Senate and House democratic leaders sent a letter to President George W. Bush yesterday calling on him to:
... begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces before the end of the year, to transform the U.S. mission, and to launch a real diplomatic and reconstruction effort to help stabilize Iraq. These concrete recommendations draw upon the Levin/Reed Iraq policy amendment overwhelmingly supported in the Senate. Simply staying the course behind the president's failed policy is not in the interests of our troops, taxpayers or national security.
The Washington Post article about the letter characterized this new position as more politics than substance. The Post notes that "... it helps clarify the Nov. 7 election as a choice between a party seeking a timeline for withdrawing troops from an unpopular war and a party resisting any such timetable."
While this new position was crafted with the goal of getting Democrats elected, what's more significant is that it may help move the nation closer to bringing U.S. troops home and helping Iraq craft a political settlement to the ongoing civil war (though I saw no mention of this in the Democrats' statement). We may begin to see actual consensus coming out of Washington Democrats about real policy alternatives for Iraq. For the Democrats to agree on a position that amounts to the beginning of the end of the U.S. occupation of Iraq is huge. It provides a starting point for more in-depth discussion of the policy details needed to make the Democrats' position operational. And more important than the Democrats' chances in 2006, this would mean that the "out of Iraq" position may gain enough momentum in Washington to vanquish the "stay the course" position.
Help us spread the word about these important stories...
Email to a friend
Views expressed on this page are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Campaign for America's Future or Institute for America's Future