Monday, August 29, 2005

It's past time to discuss our Iraqi options

Here's the deal. Democrats were absolutely correct to "just say no" to BushCorp™'s plans to dismantle Social Security. Unlike with Iraq, "staying the course" with Social Security is the only policy that makes sense. As the nation's most (some might say only) successful government program, any change beyond an occasional tweek is mere recklessness.

The same, clearly, cannot be said for Iraq. Indeed as the 60+ percent of Americans who now tell pollsters W is leading us in the wrong direction can attest, "staying the course" is insanity if the course leads over a cliff. His latest rationalization for the war that had no connection with 9/11, and no connection with international terrorism generally, and certainly had no weapons of mass destruction involved other than our own, is that, in essence, more American Soldiers and Iraqi civilians need to die, in order to justify the deaths of those already killed.

So. I have no patience for a Democratic party that refuses to put an alternative to "stay the course" on the table. As I've suggested before, a withdrwal schedule might have a salutory effect on those Iraqis interested in a stable country. In essence, it's time to cut the apron strings.

While Saddam held all the power of the former Iraqi military and government, it's understandable that those of good will would find it nigh impossible to stand against him. But when your opponents can field no military strength larger than an IED or shrapnel filled vest, then clearly the struggle is not primarily a question of arms, but of ideas.

If the idea of a free Iraq is stronger than the Islamist anarchy which is all the insurgents, foreign born or domestic can offer, than it will certainly prevail. And if it does not do so, is it really worth additional American lives?

This then, is the message that the Democratic party (not just Russ Feingold) should be bellowing from the rooftops. I'm not suggesting that my plan is correct, but we need not continue to abide by W's false assertion that the only options are do what we've been doing, or simply cut and run. There's much we could be doing else, and it's high time for Democrats, as well as any non-Stepford Republicans (like Chuck Hagel apparently) to open the discussion.

"With us or against" has been shown for the hollow platitude that it is. Real solutions will require real ideas, and it's past time we began to offer them.

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