Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Democrats are lost in time...."

From today's USA TODAY:

Our view on war in Iraq:

Surge's success holds chance to seize the moment in Iraq

Instead, Democrats are lost in time

Iraq remains a violent place, but the trends are encouraging.

U.S. and Iraqi casualties are down sharply. Fewer of the most lethal Iranian-made explosive devices are being used as roadside bombs. In community after community, Sunni groups who were once in league with al-Qaeda have switched sides and are working with the U.S. forces.

On the Shiite side of Iraq's sectarian chasm, something similar is happening. About 70,000 local, pro-government groups, a bit like neighborhood watch groups, have formed to expose extremist militias, according to Stephen Biddle of the Council on Foreign Relations.

But as much as facts have changed on the ground, little seems to have changed in Washington. There are plans to withdraw some troops next year, but there is no clear picture of the endgame in Iraq. How long will troops be needed? Exactly what do we expect success to look like? Will we leave behind a permanent presence?

None of the answers are any clearer than they were when the news began improving. In fact, they seem fuzzier.

On the Republican side, the White House has been busy making excuses for the Iraqi government's failure to move toward national reconciliation ...

Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, seem lost in a time warp. They could try to impose new benchmarks that acknowledge the military progress. Instead, too many seem unable or unwilling to admit that President Bush's surge of 30,000 more troops has succeeded beyond their initial predictions. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who in the spring declared the war lost, said last week that "the surge hasn't accomplished its goals." Anti-war Democrats remain fixated on tying war funding to a rapid troop withdrawal. Yet pulling the troops out precipitously threatens to squander the progress of recent months toward salvaging a decent outcome to the Iraq debacle.


The Iraq war, which has cost so much in U.S. lives and treasure, deserves far more than muddling through with fingers crossed. It demands a credible, long-term plan that will allow the United States to get out in a way that preserves U.S. interests in the region, not a political stalemate that forces it to stay in.

I couldn't possibly agree more.

Read the complete editorial here:

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