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September, 11th 2007

On Iraq

– Liz Mair

I've been tied up over the last couple of days, prepping for taking off to South Africa on Friday (sister-in-law's wedding, followed by safari excursions). That's prevented me from posting much, but I've come back online to weigh in on what's going on vis a vis Iraq.

First off, let me say that I was extremely pleased to see yesterday, during the House hearing, General Petraeus make clear that we have made some progress in Iraq-- and enough that we can begin withdrawing from Iraq in December. This to me is the fundamental point that came out of yesterday's events: we're in good enough shape that we can begin withdrawing.

This leads me to my second point: I am absolutely astonished at the fact that when those in charge are preparing to do exactly what anti-war activists and certain Democrats want (i.e., begin withdrawals in quite short order), we continue to see so many people up in arms. That would include the Cindy Sheehan ladies at yesterday's hearing, the railing man at today's Senate hearing, and Democratic Senators (specifically), who are all collectively acting as if we are not seeing a change in policy-- which we clearly are, and for which they, of all people I should think would be glad.

Third, I think it is disgraceful that we've seen relative silence out of congressional Democrats in relation to MoveOn.org's New York Times ad, given that Petraeus is pretty much saying we're going to do what these guys seem to (generally) want.

Fourth, I think it really sucks that a good Senator, who is hardly a partisan Bushite, like Susan Collins is being de facto attacked by MoveOn.org, who are basically funding her opponent (a ridiculously far left liberal who would be most at home representing Berkeley, not Maine's first district) to the hilt.

Iraq is a complicated, messy and unfortunate situation. It would be awfully nice if, given the importance the American people attach to resolving things there, we could quit turning it into a partisan issue and just listen for a single second to what those commanding the troops have to say, and assess the worthiness of it-- rather than jumping the gun and predicting testimony, as MoveOn.org did (inaccurately, in my view), using the whole debate as a way of raising money, or employing the situation to score political points.

What matters is sorting out Iraq-- fixing it, if we can, leaving under the best possible terms, if we cannot, and that should be goal no. 1. I don't get the impression that it is, for a lot of people, as it stands right now. And in my opinion, that stinks.

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