Sunday, August 27, 2006

When to leave Iraq

Within an article in the NY Times by Jennifer Medina entitled "Lieberman’s Run Shadows House Campaigns in Connecticut" I read the following passage concerning Connecticut Representative Christopher Shay's current position on Iraq:

Like Mr. Lieberman, Mr. Shays has come under fire for his ardent support of the war. But he has also criticized the president’s handling of the aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s ouster. Mr. Shays has backed Mr. Lieberman in the general election and refers to him as a friend whose views on the war he shares.

On Thursday, however, speaking to reporters as he was returning from his 14th trip to Iraq, Mr. Shays said he would support considering a timeline for withdrawal of troops and planned to hold hearings in Washington next month to help determine a “realistic” timetable for withdrawal.

“I am concerned that without a deadline, they will not do it soon enough,” Mr. Shays said in an interview on Friday. “We see that this has not been progressing. The Iraqis cannot believe that this is an open checkbook from America, but they can also not believe that we will leave too soon.”

Mr. Shays’s shift in position put Mr. Lieberman in an awkward position. In the past, he has sharply rejected the idea of setting any deadlines for removing troops from Iraq. But on Friday, when asked whether he could support Mr. Shays’s proposal, Mr. Lieberman hedged.

“It seems to me that Chris is saying, ‘Maybe we ought to set some goals for when we want to get out,’ and I’d like to see what he has in mind before I comment on it,” Mr. Lieberman said in New Haven.

He added, “As I’ve said to you over and over again, the sooner we get out of Iraq, the better it’s going to be for the Iraqis and us, but if we leave too soon for reasons of American politics, it’s going to be a disaster for the Iraqis and for us.”

I honestly don't see anything unreasonable there. You could argue that these guys wouldn't be taking such positions if there wasn't such sharp criticism from the anti-war Left or if Iraq was going a little bit better, but nonetheless, this is where we are today, and we should be encouraging such pragmatism. That is not to excuse the horrendous manner in which we stumbled into the "liberation" of Iraq, but we need to focus on how to move forward and how to enable reall progress.

-- Jack Krupansky


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