In the Arena

Iraq Vote Compromise

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This was inevitable. And, for the moment, it’s the right thing to do.

I’m not so sure that rants like the one Ana describes below are what we need right now, however satisfying and entertaining Keith’s passion might be. Since the Republicans have chosen to be the party of Iraq irrationality, there is a need for Democrats to be measured and rational here, because there will be serious consequences if our departure from Iraq is as bungled and criminally thoughtless as everything else the Bush Administration has done there.

I remain opposed to a withdrawal timetable, but in favor of a withdrawal plan–of the sort favored by Senators Carl Levin, Jack Reed and Jim Webb, a plan that would continue the fight against Al Qaeda, protect Iraq’s borders, put major diplomatic pressure on the Shi’ite regime to create a government that gives fair treatment to the Sunnis. The odds are against all that. But to the extent that we can meliorate the chaos caused by our departure, we have to try to do it.

I’ll have more to say about the current state of play in Iraq–some surprising good news, some depressing bad news–when my print column is posted later today.

By the way, Juan Cole offers precisely the measured tone and detailed knowledge–and appropriate conclusions about all this today.