Today, the Senate began debate on legislation that would ask the President to withdraw American troops by March of next year. Some Republicans have called this a surrender resolution. To an extent, they`re right. To an extent, though, the Democrats are correct in saying that we need an end game in Iraq.
Since the “war” ended - I use quotes because Congress did not actually fulfill its constitutional responsibility of declaring war - the Iraqis have repeatedly failed to take responsibility for their own security. The government has proven itself inept at best, at worst, childish in their near complete reliance on coalition forces to deal with those who are willing to kill to return to totalitarian government. Daily attacks continue, and it continues to be the Americans rather than the Iraqis cleaning up the mess. Through all of this, the Iraqi government has continued to beg for support while failing to give the US any reason to believe that it will do a better job of living up to its obligations in the near or distant future.
On the American side, we have failed to create a world-class police force, which is necessary to ensure the long-term stability of Iraq. Standards for Iraqi police should be at least as high as they are for Americans, if not higher. Instead, training bases continue to turn out the Keystone cops. In the President`s own words, it is time to end the soft bigotry of low expectations and create a police force capable of securing Baghdad, if not the rest of Iraq.
In short, there are several deadlines that should be set for the United States and Iraqi governments. Setting a deadline for withdrawal rather than setting deadlines for the milestones that must be met in order to leave Iraq as a stable, democratic force in the Middle East is a wrongheaded approach that tells terrorists that they need only hold off on their actions for another year, at which time their violence will succeed. Leaving Iraq in its current state would be irresponsible, but a new course is needed. It is time to start setting a timeline for victory rather than one for defeat. Hopefully both Republicans and Democrats, Americans and Iraqis, can get back on track and start planning for victory, rather than either planning for defeat or not planning at all.