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June 21, 2005

Time to go

The American people want the U.S. out of Iraq:

According to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey, 59% of Americans oppose the war with Iraq, while just 39% favor it – a substantial change from a March poll, when the public was evenly divided, 47% in favor and 47% opposed. This is the first time that a majority has expressed opposition to the war on this question, although these results parallel the findings from a June 6-8 Gallup Poll, which found 56% of Americans saying it was not worth going to war in Iraq, and 59% supporting at least a partial withdrawal of troops from that country.

The Iraqis want the U.S. out of Iraq:

Iraqi lawmakers from across the political spectrum called for the withdrawal of foreign forces from their country in a letter released to the media June 19.
The move comes as U.S. President George W. Bush is under increasing domestic pressure to set a timetable for the pullout of American forces in the face of an increasing death toll at the hands of insurgents.
Eighty-two Shiite, Kurdish, Sunni Arab, Christian and communist deputies made the call in a letter sent by Falah Hassan Shanshal of the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), the largest group in parliament, to speaker Hajem al-Hassani. Some of those who signed urged that a detailed timetable be established for the withdrawal.

The U.S. military leadership in Iraq thinks the time to leave is fast approaching:

The U.S. military will probably begin withdrawing some forces from Iraq by March, a top U.S. commander said June 21. He predicted the insurgency will dwindle rapidly if the country’s Sunnis, Shia and Kurds can agree on a constitution and elect a government that has broad support.
Lt. Gen. John Vines, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, said any drawdown would depend on conditions on the ground.
But he said as many as four or five U.S. brigades probably would come out in March.

And as Unqualified Offerings explains, a structured withdrawal from Iraq would help resolve a lot of the country’s current problems:

To the extent we have a chance of achieving a good outcome in Iraq it depends on setting a date certain for withdrawal. There are two reasons for this. First, it concentrates the mind of our more-or-less allied actors in Iraq. It removes a major moral hazard in stabilizing self-government in Iraq. As it is now, factions can maximalize their demands on the assumption that Uncle Sugar will make it all work out somehow, some way. Second, if we set a date in the future and stick to it, then we keep the initiative. A preannounced withdrawal would be harder to represent as “cutting and running” than an extemporaneous withdrawal under the pressure of events. Thirdly (of our two reasons), it vitiates the occupation itself as a driver of the insurgency. I’m not remotely naive enough to believe that the occupation is the only driver of the insurgency - I think we’re basically seeing Saddam’s war plan in action … But depriving the command structure of its suicidal cannon fodder would not be a negligible strategic achievement.

So I’m with Kos and the American Street: there is an opportunity right now for the Democrats to stake out a real leadership position—one that would benefit both the country and the party. And for a smart Democratic presidential candidate to grab an early lead for 2008.

Posted by Stephen at 9:28 PM in War | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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