I haven't posted much on political issues. There are a couple of reasons for this: first there are many blogs out there, with authors much smarter than I, who write about the rotten state of the world. I can hardly compete. Second, I'm lazy. It's true. Spewing my opinions is easy in the privacy of my own home -- to back something up all I have to say is, "I think I remember someone said something on NPR", Len tends to believe me, mostly because he hears the same news, and because we have similar opinion (but not always). In a (somewhat) more public forum, I feel more compelled to back up what I say, and I am generally too lazy to do the research. Also. Too busy. But Iraq.
First I'm going to say something that will probably shock some of you who know me: I don't believe the U.S. should pull troops from Iraq. I believe if the troops were to leave now, Iraq would be much worse off than it is now, and certainly than before they invaded. Frankly, it would be immoral. Not that there is anything moral about this war. From the beginning to pressure cooker we're in now, we have had nothing but lies, exaggerations and fear-mongering; it is for this that over 2300 American soldiers have died and 14,000 have been wounded. Not to mention the Iraqi dead and wounded, for which there is not reliable count. Iraq Body Count is a place to start, but The Lancet puts the number much higher. Pulling troops out won't stop the killing of Iraqis, I think it will just get worse.
This administration never took this war seriously. It was supposed to be a video game, flowers and dancing children in the street, and then a Republican lock on all three branches of the Federal government and most of the states. Had they taken threats from the Middle East seriously, they would have stuck with Afghanistan, a country where we might actually have done some good and a war most Americans could get behind (without being lied to, anyway).
Joe Biden, Democrat from Delaware, and Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, published a piece in Monday's New York Times about what could be done in Iraq instead of pulling troops out (you might have to log in for this, the column is free, but I can send full text, if you prefer). Juan Cole, of Informed Comment, responds here and here, and has his own proposal here.
Personally, I think one of two things will happen. Bush, et al. will shrug their shoulders at Iraq and go invade Iran instead, leaving Iraq to burn up in a fireball. Or Bush and cronies will "stay the course" until 2008 and force the next President (probably a Democrat, because they always get stuck with the dirty work) to pull out and leave Iraq to burn up in a fireball. Either way, Iraq is screwed. And it is Bush's fault.
And in 2008, Bush and cronies will go back to their rocking chairs in Texas. Or hell. Whichever comes first. I don't believe in hell, but I'm willing to make an exception.