The article linked here notes that Iraq is demanding a date-certain for a pullout of all foreign forces.
The absurdity of the refusal of the Bush administration to accede to this is phenomenal.
America went into Iraq to overthrow a Stalinist dictator and give the country of Iraq back to the people of Iraq.
The participation in several elections, the Anbar Awakening, the reduction in violence, the willingness of Shia and Sunni to get along all in the government, all argue that the goals of the invasion have been reached.
Time to go home.
Set the date.
What’s the problem?
If “conditions on the ground” at the time indicate it’s a bad idea to leave, the Iraqis will get to say, “Just kidding!”
If conditions seem OK and deteriorate very quickly after we leave, well, that’s the way the world works.
Whether America will be willing to go back a third time to straighten out this mess is a big unknown. But al-Maliki is a big boy and he certainly gets to make that call. That’s why we gave them the country back and introduced them to democracy. He can ask. We can answer however we decide at the time.
If Bush is reluctant to go because he thinks it’ll give Obama ammo in the election, here’s a newsflash: Not going when the democratic government of Iraq tells us to go will give Obama more ammo.
Setting a date and agreeing to go will take the war off the table for the election. McCain will benefit from that, Obama can crow all he wants but the electorate will recognize that we are agreeing to leave because the Surge worked – and Obama still can’t accept that it was the correct thing to do.
And democracy works in America, too. If the American electorate still decides to elect a man with no experience whatsoever, with tax proposals that will create a new Depression, that’s our call.
Not accepting the outcome on the ground in Iraq just means we are holding the Iraqis hostage to the bitter extremist-driven infighting of the Baby Boomer electorate in the United States.
That isn’t why we went to war. That isn’t why Americans died.