Dems Take a Crack at Pulling Back from Iraq

After watching four hours of General David Petraeus’s Senate Armed Services Committee testimony (what can I say, I’m a political junkie), it seems to me that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have much of a plan, idea or meaningful rhetoric about our “mission” in Iraq. Somehow, I doubt that speaks well of our prospects there.
I’m ambivalent about Iraq. The troop surge was the right thing to do and, as Petraeus said, it worked quite well to slow the violence. I agree with John McCain that we had a flawed strategy going into the war and allowed it to persist until the effort just about imploded. Until only a few months ago, it seemed the whole thing was a complete disaster.
While the effort to liberate Iraq was noble, the best we’ve seen is a high election turnout. This is certainly a good thing, and I must admit that I was sanguine about the prospects of democratization in Iraq. However, the sharply bifurcated factions of the government don’t seem to be pulling together, as Ambassador Ryan Crocker testified at the hearings. Both Petraeus and Crocker admit that the gains are fragile and reversible.
According to the Navy’s Center for Contemporary Conflict, calculable economic losses stemming from the 9/11 attacks amount to $600 billion. The Institute for the Analysis of Global Security believes that costs amount to as much as $2 trillion when factoring in the damage to the market. The point is that when Petraeus and Crocker say that we are safer by ousting terrorist factions