The Council on Foreign Relations provides a link-filled, timely summary with their customary excellence. If we’re going to be successful in Iraq, we’re going to have to make a long-term commitment.
On the surface, the presidential candidates’ rhetoric on Iraq seems to be a natural extension of the partisan dispute that has buffeted a war-funding bill in Congress this year. The four senator-candidates in the Democratic Party even voted for a recent measure aimed at cutting off funding for the war by next March, although it was doomed for failure (ConnPost). On the Republican side, frontrunners Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney used the start of their last debate to reinforce support for the military campaign in Iraq as essential to U.S. security.
But a closer look at the Iraq debate shows the prospect for fissures within both parties, as this new Backgrounder explains. For example, on the May 16 vote in the Senate to halt war funding, Sen. Hillary Clinton’s (D-NY) mixed signals about whether or not she would actually support cutting off funding highlighted the sensitivity of the issue for a prospective Democratic commander-in-chief: Get out or support the troops? (AP)
Much more at the link, ending with a line by Max Boot that will make nearly everyone want to choke:
I hate to say it, but he's correct. I don't agree with anyone popular about HOW that commitment will be made, but I am certain that a continuing US influence will be necessary for anything we want to label "success." The fact is that we already "won" Iraq but no one wants to see that victory. The sacrifices of many thousands of American lives, both military and civilian, together with the horrible carnage among Iraqis themselves have resulted in a blood drenched land where seeds have been planted. Like imported plants and animals which overtake a new ecosystem, the seeds of representative government introduced to that part of the world have forever been planted in their midst. No extermination efforts on the part of any group will ever kill those seeds. It's too late. Oh, there will be setbacks and intervals of slow movement, but in the end, like the growth of a tree, the seeds of representative government will come to maturity and reproduce. The process, like the birth of a baby, cannot be stopped. We may not see the results in our lifetime, but we can go to the next world confident that we did what was necessary to lead a large population from darkness to political light. Unfortunately, like the gardener who drowns his crop with too much water or burns it up under too much fertilizer, we long ago crossed the line where "helping" is no longer helping...
If we’re going to be successful in Iraq, we’re going to have to make a long-term commitment.