Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Basic Taking Point on Iraq

This is best kept as brief as possible. When the point is good, make it and then "don't just do something, stand there," as Dean Atchison once instructed his diplomats. Here is the basic question on the war in Iraq: what is the war aim? What is the application of military force meant to accomplish, and when will we know that that aim has been achieved?
Meanwhile, it is unlikely that any American president will precipitously pull out of Iraq if the consensus was that such a withdrawal would trigger a humanitarian catastrophe. So the question is, do we want a President who is hawkish and vows "I will never surrender," or do we want a President who recognizes that the situation is toxically bad and that we need to get out as soon as we reasonably can?
And now return to the original question.

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