Thursday, June 7, 2007

The troops in Iraq

The Democratic Congress has come under a lot of criticism from the left for sending President Bush a war funding bill that does not require him withdraw troops from Iraq on a time-table. For example, some time before the veto, John Edwards said:

If he does veto funding for our troops, Congress should send the same bill right back to him. And they should do this again and again, until the President finally understands that he cannot reject the will of the overwhelming majority American people.

I'm all for withdrawing troops at the earliest. But is it the best thing to do? The danger of a thoughtless withdrawal is that utter chaos will ensue in Iraq (much worse than the current situation). For better or for worse, we went into Iraq and created this mess; we can't just withdraw without leaving Iraq in a reasonably stable state. Al Gore put it well in a recent column by Bob Herbert (Times Select subscription required):

There is no quick and easy formula, ... The objective, however, should be clear: “To get our troops out of there as soon as possible while simultaneously observing the moral duty that all of us share — including those of us who opposed this war in the first instance — to remove our troops in a way that doesn’t do further avoidable damage to the people who live there.”

Unfortunately Herbert's piece doesn't discuss what Al Gore would do to get the troops out.

Are there any good ideas on how to remove our troops while observing this moral duty? The best thing I've heard involves a political solution that incorporates Iraq's neighbors. But I don't see much talk of this. What do you think?

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