Sunday, March 19, 2006

What do they think will happen?

Critical as I am of the decision to invade Iraq and much of our execution during the post-war occupation, I don't quite get antiwar protesters.

The third anniversary of the U.S.-led war in Iraq drew tens of thousands of protesters around the globe, from hurricane-ravaged Louisiana to Australia, with chants of "Stop the War" and calls for the withdrawal of troops.

As my wife, another war critic, said, "we should get a bumper sticker saying 'Insurgents go home!' "

While a large chunk of the Iraqi resistance is sparked by our presence and will go away when we leave, another large chunk is driven by sectarian goals and the foreign fighters under Al-Zarqawi appear interested in triggering a civil war. Both of the latter would be helped by a precipitous withdrawal. It can be difficult to identify good guys in Iraq, where tit-for-tat killings are becoming common, but I think most people would agree that the latter two groups definitely count as bad guys.

It angers me no end that the Bush administration started this war in the first place, and then dug the hole so deep that we have no choice but to keep digging. But we really have no honorable choice. We must withdraw on our own timetable, not rush for the exits now that the war is going poorly and becoming more and more unpopular. There's nothing wrong with a timetable, but it had better be contingent upon certain milestones being reached -- with a Plan B in case those milestones are judged to be unreachable.

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