What is the criteria for "victory"?

We have heard much from the right about not "cutting and running" or "leaving before the job is done" in Iraq. These false constructs make for nothing but a "damn the torpedoes" approach and make no allowance for lessons learned and changing tactics quickly. It has been the enemy doing the adapting and overcoming.

If we must oversee the creation of a stable Iraqi democracy and make the case that leaving will not cause a rise in violence, then we should plan on staying as long as we have in Korea. In the context of the current middle east, no Jeffersonian democracy is possible and it is sheer lunacy to think there won't be a strong anti-American sentiment for a couple of generations. Whether we are talking about the Shia-Sunni sectarian violence (often just a front for long-standing tribal rivalries settled only by violence) or the Sunni insurgency, the struggle between al-Sadr's minions and the Badr Organization, or even the growing audacity of the Kurdish seperatists, Iraq is in chaos and is effectively not governed. We will face the same choice about the likely rise in violence or Iran's influence 3, 5 or 10 years from now. I just want to know, what is there beyond blind hope to suggest that this will get better if we stay?


John, welcome!

And you're right, of course.

I think the GOP answer to what we can expect for Iran is clear..

"We have no intention of ignoring or appeasing history's latest gang of fanatics trying to murder their way to power..."

- Dick Cheney 9-11-06

Kind of an ironic statement -- I guess it is all a matter of your perspective.

I wish the followers would lead... With a voice so strong in would knock me to my knees...

We must begin to withdraw.

And while we're at it, we must pony up a boatload of money to help fund reconstruction. The so-called Pottery Barn rule.

We must walk away from the bases we're building there.

We must get a new president whose integrity is not a festering sore.

You make good point

While I understand the President's plan to be to train up the Iraqis to take care of their own security and once they are ready, to withdraw, that leaves open the question of "What constitutes Iraqi readiness?"

I don't know the answer. And I don't think the White House knows. That decision is going to be based on a combination of factors, not all of which have to do with actual readiness. Primarily, recommendations by the military leaders on the ground regarding whether there is much more U.S. troops can contribute and by political pressures at home.one

I just hope that when the decision to leave is made, the Iraqi security can (1) protect basic economic infrastructure and (2) secure the constitutional government. And then, there must be elections on schedule (I don't know when they are next to take place, but hopefully in 2 years for parliament so that the people will see they don't have to wait long for another electoral chance, which might help with the sectarian violence - although I don't have a solution for that, and I doubt anyone does.)


I think a good start

would be some sort of actual plan. It's really damn hard to know when you've gotten where you wanted to go if you never really decide exactly where you want to go. Know what I mean?

And I totally agree. The plan needs to be one that takes us out of Iraq. Sooner rather than later.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Welcome John and Good Post

I hope that everyone has read my Brad Miller diary, becuase I think he has a pretty good idea on a start. We need to have an American conversation on this. A conversation without name calling or questioning other's patriotism.

Also, I saw the other day on another blog a suggestionn that we allow the Iraqi people vote on it. If they vote we get out, we leave with honor and show them that we really were there to liberate them. If they vote that we stay, then we are there with their permission, no longer occupiers. But of course, no plan will be perfect, but it sure would ne nice if there was some sort of plan.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.