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Friday, November 18, 2005

Iraq, the Little Bog that Could

I've written several times before that I think pretty much everyone is wrong on Iraq. The President wants to press on, Democrats want out now, and everyone is trying to decide if they should have thought differently several years ago.

Democrats, of course, think this is a good issue to win an election. They can barely keep from slobbering all over themselves in anticipation of reversing the Republican Revolution. Iraq, they think, will let them take back the House, the Senate, and the White House.

Maybe. But not the way they are going about it now.

Ultimately, it is an empty discussion over why and how we went into Iraq. Elections are always about the future, and the future is not the invasion of Iraq, but how, why, and when we leave. It isn't ultimately about if President Bush's team manipulated intelligence because we can't just wake up on Tuesday and say, "Gosh, we're sorry. We'll just go home now."

Nope. We broke it, we own it, and we better come up with an idea of how to fix it. Otherwise, Democrats are simply making true the contention that they aren't for anything, they're just against whatever President Bush does. You want to lead the country? You better have a vision about where you're going.

We need concrete steps - like reaching out to Pakistan and Egypt for more troops on the ground inside contended areas. We need a way to be involved in the rebuilding process in a culturally aware way - not only for Iraq, but for America. Tucking our tails and waving from a troop ship isn't going to help Iraq, and it isn't going to help America. In the long run, it weakens both.

It's true that the majority of Americans do not think that things are going well in Iraq - but there are a lot more numbers than just that.

For example, the NBC poll of November 4-7 shows that while 64% disapprove of the way George Bush is handling Iraq, Democrats have only a three point lead over Republicans when respondents are asked who would do better. The largest group is when you add in "Neither" with "about the same" and "unsure" - which is basically three ways of saying the same thing. With the "unable to determine leadership" group, you have 37% of Americans saying that it doesn't matter who is in office, Iraq is going to be a bog anyway.

Again, while Americans in almost every poll listed say there have been too many American casualties and they don't look for any improvement, the ABC poll of Oct 30 through Nov 2 found that a majority of Americans still think the best thing to do is keep our troops deployed.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter why we are in Iraq. The dead are dead and will not come back to life. They have died in vain or not, and that can't be changed. What can be changed is the future. Until either Democrats or Republicans start actually talking about concrete ways to measure success and how to get to them, then Iraq is basically a push - and everyone knows the House wins in a push.

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