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Update [2005-11-28 8:14:16 by Armando]: A companion piece on Iraq withdrawal.

In his WaPo column this morning, William Raspberry said:

So how do the Republicans respond [to recent events]? Sometimes by direct attack, as when they tried to discredit Murtha as a coward. But given a president whose National Guard service was suspect at best and a vice president who was garnering draft deferments while Murtha served, that couldn't work.

And sometimes by simply noting that the Democrats don't have an exit strategy, either. Of course they don't.

If the Democrats had their own Karl Rove, he'd probably tell them not to even try to come up with one. If a sound exit plan means getting out without leaving Iraq less stable than it is now, and with a reasonable chance of becoming an American-style democracy, nobody has one.

If Iraq is most likely to implode into civil war, leaving it a far more dangerous hotbed of terrorism than it was before our invasion, wouldn't the Democrats be smart to let it happen without interference? That isn't to say the Democrats yearn for failure -- but it's a cinch they don't want to be blamed for it.

Well, I have volunteered for the job and have counseled exactly that. Am I being cynical? No. I would argue I am being principled. Raspberry says:

But the quagmire in Iraq involves much more than politics. It involves national honor, the undiminished threat of international terrorism -- and the lives of too many people who deserve better.

It's hardly the time for clever politics.

For those in power who have the ability to formulate and implement Iraq policy this is surely true. That is the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress. Neither is listening to a damn thing Democrats say about Iraq except with regard to how to respond to it politically. The Democrats have no say whatsoever in Iraq policy. And BushCo has decided that this be so.

So what are Dems left to do? Very simple. They have to plan and act in ways designed to allow them to regain power in 2006. So they can try and deal with the Iraq Debacle given us by Bush and the Republicans. This requires offering plans for Iraq when voters can choose between Republicans and Democrats. The 2006 election campaign.

It is the only principled thing to do.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 09:15 PM PST.

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