Americans who choose not to suffer from political amnesia certainly have been under no illusions about the key goals of this postwar.
Iraq needed time to get on its feet, to decide how best to restructure its government and to put that government in place. Then, and only then, would it be time to talk about bringing the troops home.
It has taken longer for Iraqis to hammer out a government (who ever said democracy was easy?) and has cost more in blood than either nation wished. But the Dec. 15 elections for Iraq's permanent parliament - following the October approval of a constitution and last January's election for the assembly that wrote it - are nearly upon us. The finish line is near....
To set an artificial deadline for withdrawal would be an open invitation to insurgents for even more frequent attacks on U.S. troops and on Iraqis, military and civilian alike, in advance of the Dec. 15 elections.
Middle Easterners won't believe we intend to leave until we go. Americans in 2006 appropriately will focus more strongly on when to wrap up the Iraqi postwar situation.
I just want to get the World-Herald on the record on this - come Dec. 15th, it's finally OKAY to talk about troop withdrawal? Right? Isn't that what you guys are saying? Come Decmeber 15th, the American people and their elected representatives can suddenly question our continued presence in Iraq (or, at least, the extent thereof) without their patriotism and character being called into question? You promise? I'm going to hold you to that. Seriously.
I'm by no means calling for immediate withdrawal myself, but the debate about our long-term objectives in Iraq and when our continued presence will have become a hinderance to peace is well overdue. For those who don't want to reveal their plans and, yes, admit the short-comings in terms of freedom and stability that America will ever be able to guarantee in the region, there will always be another December 15th just around the corner to silence debate and kill dissent.
Glad to see the World-Herald won't be playing such a vicious and deceitful game with peoples' lives (not to mention another nation's future). I assume this also means that, come December 15th, readers can expect them to actually take a lead on this issue, calling for renewed accountability and the Bush Administration's finally leveling with the American people.
I look forward to it. December 15th. Mark your calendar, and let's see that they keep their word.
Just remember: there's always another mile for those who are running from the truth.