On Iraq exit strategies…

It's painful watching the Democrats flail around in search of some wisdom on Iraq. They're deathly afraid of getting bashed as "weak" on Fox and MSNBC, but they also know their base is close to rebelling against the lunacy of "staying the course."

That's left some of them grappling with drawn out "exit strategies" that don't make a bit of sense.

Take John Kerry's recent call to withdraw 20,000 troops by Christmas, followed by a gradual withdrawal of the rest over a year (if Iraq meets certain "benchmarks").

It's similar to the Center for American Progress' plan [PDF] to get out in two phases by the end of 2007.

But it's logically inconsistent to call for a withdrawal over the next two years. You either believe that tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq are a calming influence, that they don't radicalize people, that civilians aren't getting killed at checkpoints - leaving new enemies for generations to come - and that it's realistic to anticipate a military victory over the insurgency, or you don't.

If you do, then you really should be for staying the course. After all, we broke it, and we have to fix it, and all that jazz.

If you don't buy it - if you believe the overwhelmingly clear data available to us over the strategic class's spin -- then it is, simply, morally reprehensible to say 'let's take 15 or 27 months to get out.'

In the current phase, we're losing 2.28 coalition troops per day. Despite that sacrifice, we haven't kept the country from descending into a bloody civil war that's overwhelming Iraq's morgues with dead civilians. So while I've argued that 'bring them home tomorrow' is a straw-man argument nobody is seriously advocating, I don't see why 'bring 'em home in the next 120 days' isn't the least horrible option available to us at this point.


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