10.12.06

Leave Iraq now; don't wait until 2008 election day

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 12/07/2006 | Leave Iraq now; don't wait until 2008 election day

Let's get a few more things straight right now.

There's no victory waiting for President Bush in Iraq, and nothing that his father's friends say or do can save him from an ignominious end to his presidency in two years and two months, or from the judgment of history.

There will be no convenient and successful negotiation of a 'decent interval' with our enemies Iran and Syria to cover our withdrawal from a war that we should never have started.

There can be no successful Vietnamization in Iraq - standing up more and better Iraqi army and police units and handing control over to them - when all we're doing is arming and training more recruits for the civil war that clogs the streets of Baghdad with the corpses of the victims of a Sunni-Shia bloodbath.

What we need to do is what none of the commissions and their reports dared to suggest: Begin withdrawing American forces from Iraq right now. Not in 2008. Not after the American death toll has crossed 5,000. Not just in time for a presidential election.

If you worry about the future of Iraq, don't. It will remain what it's always been: a violent, angry land of warring tribes only occasionally beaten and bludgeoned into submission by a homegrown despot like Saddam Hussein.

If you worry about added turmoil and instability in the Middle East, pull some of those departing American forces back to Kuwait and leave them there on standby. Then redirect thought, energy and effort into salvaging Afghanistan, finding Osama bin Laden, saving Lebanon, negotiating peace between Israel and its enemies, rebuilding the U.S. Army and Marine Corps and, oh yes, ending the uncivil war between Republicans and Democrats.

There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there's only one way to leave Iraq: Load our people up on their trucks and tank transporters and Bradleys and Humvees and head for the border. Now.

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