Wednesday, February 20, 2008

At Least The War Is Over

Over there:

MUQDADIYA - A suicide bomber detonated an explosives vest in a market in the town of Muqdadiya, 90 km (55 miles) northeast of Baghdad, killing seven people and wounding 17, a source in the town's hospital said.

* TAL AFAR - A suicide car bomber killed a woman and a 6-year-old girl and wounded eight in an attack on an identity cards office in the town of Tal Afar, 420 km (260 miles) northwest of Baghdad, police said. Tal Afar's mayor put the death toll at two killed and four wounded.


BAGHDAD - A roadside bomb killed three U.S. soldiers when it struck their vehicle in northwestern Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

BAGHDAD - Iraqi officials said 15 policemen were killed and more than 45 wounded in the Ubaidi district of eastern Baghdad on Tuesday as they tried to defuse rockets that had been prepared for launch from the back of a truck.

It's been over 2 years since Joe Klein tut-tutted people who wanted "precipitous withdrawal."

There was a profound change in the debate over Iraq in Washington last week. The central issue is no longer how best to prosecute the war, but how best to leave it. This appeared true for many of President Bush's strongest supporters and even for some of the most adamant traditional hawks in Congress—as Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman John Murtha's call for a hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops most vividly demonstrated. The Senate resolution calling for a "significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty"—that is, Iraqi control of the war effort—in 2006 was less vivid than the House's ugly theatrics surrounding the Murtha proposal, but perhaps more meaningful. Senate Democrats failed to win a commitment to the gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops. But the wording of the resolution wasn't nearly so important as the subtext. Politicians of both parties felt the need to express some sort of dismay about Iraq. And no one offered an amendment calling for a more robust U.S. military effort to win the war. That now seems beyond the realm of political possibility.


Murtha did not talk about the consequences of a precipitous withdrawal. No one really has. The most passionate discussions in Washington last week were about the past—whether the President intentionally misled the country into war—not the future. They are a waste of time. Two questions need to be addressed: Will an American withdrawal from Iraq create more or less stability in the Middle East? Will a withdrawal increase or decrease the threat of another terrorist attack at home? It does not matter whether you believe the war was right or wrong. If the answers to those questions are less stability and an empowered al-Qaeda, we'd better think twice about slipping down this dangerous path.

That was Nov 20., 2005. And what a precipitous withdrawal it's been!