Only 9% of the American people in a new AP/IPSOS poll released today believe we will find success in Iraq and that matches the same gloomy percentage of Americans who believed, over 30 years ago, that the Vietnam war was winnable.


The time to get out of Iraq is right now. Tap out. Give in. Get out.
Winning is not possible. Losing is inevitable. A Civil War is happening
right now.


Thomas Friedman makes this fascinating argument this morning for am immediate withdrawal of all forces from Iraq:

The only hope of moving the factions inside Iraq, not to
mention Syria and Iran, toward reconciliation is if we have leverage
over them, which we now lack. The currency of Middle East politics is
pain. And right now, all the pain is being inflicted on us and on Iraqi
civilians. Only if we tell all the players that we are leaving might we
create a different balance of pain and therefore some hope for a
diplomatic deal. Trying to do diplomacy without the threat of pain is
like trying to play baseball without a bat….
Let’s play this out.

What happens if we set a date to leave? The war in
Iraq will get worse, but for how long? Right now our troops are
providing a floor under the civil war that allows some parties to
behave outrageously or make impossible demands — because they know that
we won’t let things spin totally out of control. Would they behave more
cautiously if they knew they had to pay retail for their madness? I’d
like to find out….
If there is a full-fledged civil war, Syria, a largely Sunni country,
will have to support the Iraqi Sunnis.

Shiite Iran will have to support
the Iraqi Shiites. That would mean Iran and Syria, now allies, will be
on opposite sides of the Iraqi civil war. That will leave them with the
choice of either indirectly fighting each other or working to settle
the war.
Moreover, right now we are “Mr. Big” in Iraq, soaking up all the
popular anger. But the minute we’re gone, Iran becomes “Mr. Big” and
the age-old tensions between Iraqi Arab Shiites and Iranian Persian
Shiites will surface. Iran and Moktada al-Sadr will be at each other’s

Friedman finishes his argument by saying we’re either in Iraq “for 10
months or 10 years” and nobody wants us there for a decade and no one
in Iraq really wants us there even 10 months. So why stay where we are
not wanted or appreciated? Get out now! Set the timer for leaving for
as soon as possible. The time for talk is over. The only action that
should be taken is moving our troops out of the middle of a Civil War.


What do you think? How long should we remain in Iraq?


  1. Be careful out there, Dave!
    The president has already rejected the Baker-Hamilton plan in favor of his own released “studies” from the Pentagon and the State Department.
    The next two years are going to be more of the same old “round and round and round” with no end.
    I do expect another “push” from the president, though. 20,000 more troops to make “one last stand” in Iraq. I have no idea what more troops would accomplish right now.

  2. Dave!
    Yes! More troops mean more deaths. On both sides.
    We really are at the tipping point in history as John Kerry said: “What is the name of the last American soldier to die in Iraq?”
    The Democrats won’t end this monstrosity. They’re scared. So are the Republicans. They’re all the same. They just have different labels.
    It will take an uprising from the people — marching in the streets, protesting to with no end — to force our way out. It won’t happen until after 2008, though, because even if the entire nation were burning up the streets to get out of Iraq our current president has no interest to do anything other than wait and pine for what might have been – but what will never happen.
    My prediction is the next president will be the most anti-war option with a promise to resign unless we are out if Iraq in six months after taking office. Right now, Barack Obama is that choice. He’s been against the war from the start. Hillary’s position on the war was always indefensible and false as “the definition of what ‘is’ is.”

  3. Hi J!
    How can we make that happen?
    Do you think the Democrats have it in them to do it?
    Why isn’t John McCain getting the message to get out? Why is he pushing the Neo-Con “more troops are better” fantasy?

  4. David – The Dems definitely don’t. They are going to play the political game and hold irrelevant hearings about how we got into the mess, rather than getting us out, so they can get camera time. They won’t have the guts to force Bush’s hand via the power of the purse, and that’s what it would take. It’ll come back to haunt them, probably in just two years.
    Until a pro-war vote (in Congress) or utterance is political suicide, we’ll still be in Iraq, and maybe other places too.
    I think we need to begin pointing out, relentlessly, what bs the whole “War on Terror” is. We’ve bought into the politician’s fear mongering at our peril. We’re much worse off for it. It’s time to objectively look at the so-called threat. Blog about it. Talk about it. Point of the practical impossibilty of any form of Islam threatening our way of life. I posted “War on Terror” a misnomer a couple days back. I lack the expertise, readership, or literary chops to have much effect, but you’ll get the gist.
    A lie is a lie. Period. Bush has proven more dangerous than the terrorist because we allowed them (Bush and the terrorist) to scare us.

  5. Right on, J!
    It is going to take the pressure of the “ordinary person” and the “extraordinary blogger” to force public opinion to end this war.
    I’ve done tried to sound the horn here:
    and in other articles on this blog.
    It’s good that the Democrats can at least stall things. If we still had Republicans in charge of the Senate and Congress we’d be in a dire position. The Democrats won’t end the war, but they can try to slow down the death count.
    I read an article that the wrong son became president. If we had Jeb instead of George — we wouldn’t be in this mess and we would never had invaded Iraq. Jeb is the intellectual and George is the party boy and that is why the elder Bush broke down crying the other day because he knows it’s over and that Jeb will never be more than a governor. Is this the end of the royal presidency? Let’s hope so — and let’s fight that we never have another Bush darkening our national door — even the creepy young George Prescott Bush waiting in the wings…

  6. The world already sees us as losers in Iraq in the 12st degree, Dave!
    Name a country that sees us as winning the war in Iraq right now!
    The president has already put the commission report on the shelf to gather dust. James Baker said you can’t select and choose what to implement to find success. You need to take all 79 steps and make them work. The White House already said they would not speak to Iran or Syria because that “would take them off the hook.” So the whole report is DOA. Dead. Gone. Wasted.
    Saving face is what took us so long to get out of Vietnam and to what end? It only lead to more American deaths. To wait for something better to happen when nothing better is planned is to continue to throw good money after bad and to toss one life in the pit after another until we feel we’ve stayed long enough to look good in the eyes of other nations.
    There’s to way to win a war without stopping it first and you only lose if you continue the path you are on that is not finding success.

  7. Hi David,
    I’m a little tired from being on the road most of this morning. I had to drive from Northwest Indiana to the Northwestern suburbs of Chicago.
    I head something on the radio about that Spears-Hilton-Lohan study commission and something or other that they had released over the last couple of days, but I was paying attention to the cars in front of me and missed the full report. I think it was something about Iraq or maybe about something that Rocks! Whatever. It must have been hot. 🙂
    I’m worn down by the war also. Since we weren’t willing to do what needed to be done at the beginning and probably won’t be able to figure out how to fix the problem, I say let’s bail out. Since we’re the Great Satan, expectations were low to begin with and our position probably will remain the same no matter what we do. The costs outweigh any benefits at this point.
    Didn’t we find oil in the Gulf of Mexico that increases our supply for another couple of hundreds of years? Also, the new Canadian pipeline is getting ready to start sending oil to the BP/Amoco refinery in Whiting, Ind. Plus, there are huge amounts of corn and other biomass products that can be brewed into fuel. Plus, our local Congressman is on the House Appropriations Committee and is slated to be the Energy Subcommittee chairman. It might make economic sense for the Midwest to focus on alternative fuel sources.
    Let’s pull out since we aren’t doing much and don’t plan to do much in the future in Iraq.
    Maybe it will be for the best.
    The Saudis can keep funding the Sunnis, while the Iranians fund the Shites. The 1980s were a good time for America — maybe another Iran-Iraq War that ties up everyone in the Middle East could be a good thing for the U.S?
    Maybe we give both sides nuclear bombs and let them “work things out.” It would be their choice to destroy the Middle East or figure out some way to live in peace.
    Maybe things will be quiet for us while Iran and Saudi Arabia fight over who gets the oil in Iraq. It would also focus us on getting E85 cars on the road.
    Whatever we do, we should start switching over to our alternative fuels sources right now so we don’t have to go to the bad neighborhood of the Middle East to feed our addictions.
    Maybe one of these days, the corn and soybean farmers of the Midwest will be living in golden mansions and driving Maybachs to go inspect the fields.

  8. Chris! I’m sorry to hear you’re worn out. The weather here changed overnight and we’re now twice as cold today — 22 degrees — as we were yesterday so I know what you mean about feeling tired. The windy, cold, weather saps all the energy out of your body.
    It’s strange how a month or so ago we were both thinking here that adding 100,000 more troops in Iraq would be the fastest way to get out of there by using overwhelming force to give us a victory and a way home. Now we both realize that would just be more of the same old killing.
    The Democrats — except for Russ Feingold who is eloquent and prescient — have no plan to get us out of Iraq and so they won’t do one thing except to sit on their hands and hope no one calls them on their inexcusable inaction.
    I agree the way to resolve the Middle East is to let those who live there fight it out while we get off the oil nipple and start making our own resources for fueling our economy. Let them bathe in bloodshed or oil and leave us out of it.
    The Taliban are rising again in Afghanistan and pulling in disaffected Palestinians while we only see the world through Iraq instead of understanding terrorism is everywhere. We need to sink our teeth into that problem on a universal basis and not just a country or two.

  9. Hello David I am here before the weekend to see you. You know because of my sensitive job I can’t get into the details of your article today but it is important to realize the value of diplomacy and talk. Physical threats should be a last resort.

  10. Hi Anne!
    Yes, I understand. We’ll be careful and generally vague.
    It’s super to see you here before a Saturday or a Sunday! I hope the cold weather isn’t freezing you out of doing real work today.
    Talking is a great value. When the Iranian leader was in New York to speak to the UN, as was Bush, a perfect opportunity for dialogue was lost to our national shame.

  11. We may not agree during a talk but that is expected. The rest of the world wants us to get along and to lead even if we don’t always come out on top. If we ask the right questions and get the right responses we can begin to show the world how a civilized conversation can be just as productive as a purely military one.

  12. Because talk is cheap and weapons are not.
    I’ve said enough so good-bye until soon again.

  13. Hi David,
    The sad thing is that we could have done good if we would have had a plan for the peace. Sadam deserved to be taken out, but the Iraqis didn’t deserve to be put into the situation they are in now.
    Afghanistan, if we don’t figure out how to stop them from producing drugs, will start killing our kids with all of the heroin they produce.
    At least there’s good news 90 miles south of the border. Raul Castro was making overtures to start up relations with the U.S.
    Maybe a nice Cuban vacation one of these years will take our minds off the mess in the middle east?

  14. Chris!
    Yes! If we had gone into Iraq with a publicly stated end plan — A TIMETABLE FOR SUCCESS — we would be the great winner in this mess and I bet we’d be done and out of there by now.
    I don’t know why we ever left Afghanistan for Iraq except for selfish oil reasons. If we remained in Afghanistan and finished the mission there we would have done the world a great amount of good.
    We must make peace with Cuba. Cuba is a necessary and invaluable ally and our refusal to engage Cuba is just shameful. We can all help each other. Cuba is not only valuable, but also a vital extension of our resources and economy beyond the immediate boundaries of the United States.

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