There are a few of us who occasionally discuss politics. Frankly it's a lot like the blogosphere where folks from the left, the center and the right gather and discuss sports one day, movies the next and politics the next. One of our group is running for sheriff and that occupies a lot of our time.
But, from time to time, we get back to the discussion of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. I've noticed one commonality at the restaurant, here in the blogosphere and on the U.S. Senate floor the other night. The folks who think we should stay in Iraq are looking forward in time. The folks who think we should leave are focused on today and Bush's sins in the past.
I don't mean to oversimplify and I certainly don't want to put words in any one's mouth. But as I listened over coffee, as I listened overnight to our Senators debate and as I read on-line the general argument for leaving is that Iraq is a mess (very true), that we are "losing American blood and treasure" on a daily basis (also very true) and that the Iraqi's are not pulling their share of the weight (also very true).
Those who think we need to stay in Iraq tend to look past the problems we face today and concentrate on the future. Their argument for staying is that, if we leave, Iraq will fall into the hands of al Qaeda or Islamic fundamentalists (true), thousands or tens of thousands will die and/or be tortured or displaced (extremely likely), the middle east will be destabilized (also possible, although less likely), our enemies will be emboldened (that's a guarantee) and terrorists will have an important and resources rich country from which to operate (that, of course, is a given).
When a conservative or a "stay the course" person is faced with the very real situation on the ground today, their answer is that it's the "price we must pay." The goal is worthy of our sacrifice.
When a liberal or a "bring the troops home" person is faced with the question of Iraq's future, they tend to look inward or backward.
"At least no more Americans will die."
"Our boys will be home safe."
"Are your children serving in Iraq?"
"It's Iraq's problem. Who cares what they do?"
"Bush made this mess. He should have never invaded a sovereign country."
"The Iraqi's are incapable of self government, let alone democracy.""Bush lied to get us into war."
Now I have to agree that Bush should NEVER have invaded Iraq. And I agree that Bush has made this mess.
But the question now is how do we clean up Bush's mess? Unfortunately, Harry Reid and the Democrats leading the movement to exit Iraq are all looking backward. They admit they have made absolutely no plans, no contingencies for any of the scenarios predicted by those who believe we must stay. They haven't discussed exit strategies with the military. They haven't discussed exit strategies with he Iraqi government. And they haven't discussed exit strategies with any of our allies. Of course, constitutionally, that's not their job.
The current "bring the troops home now" crowd has no plan beyond an April 30th deadline. There is no strategy. There are no contingencies.
I'm ready and willing to join the "bring the troops home now" crowd as soon as they start looking forward and plan for the future of Iraq and the middle east.
Please take a few minutes and listen to Guy Raz's excellent report on NPR this morning: US exit from Iraq full of unknowns Don't just read the abbreviated copy. Listen to the complete report. It's only 5 or 6 minutes long.
EDITED FOR SPELLING, GRAMMER AND CONTENT 7/20/2007 12:27 pm CDT
TECHNORATI TAGS: HARRY REID WAR IN IRAQ WAR ON TERROR AL QAEDA GEORGE BUSH JOE LIEBERMAN POLITICS JOHN MCCAIN DEMOCRATS REPUBLICANS LEADERSHIP SENATE NPR
SAVE THIS PAGE TO del.icio.us