By Keith Schmitz
As Gen. Patraeus prepares to go up before Congress this morning MSNBC was playing quotes from the presidential candidates from the last hearing in September.
Help me out with this.
They run one from John McCain where he is not using his time for question but for coddling, and where he is equating withdrawal with surrender.
Putting on my business hat. Who trusts an operation that does not set conditions for terminating a project, unless of course someone wants a perpetual job and wants to endlessly spend money.
What's wrong with this picture? The presumption that to work towards withdrawal is to result in defeat somehow is evidence of totally uncreative thinking, or a big broad hint that McCain does not ever want to leave Iraq.
Voters have to look at this unsustainable perscription. Being in Iraq forever is not equatable to our troops being in Germany or Korea. Germany probably doesn't make sense since the cold war is over. But on the other hand certain regions of Duestchland are economically dependent on our bases. I happen to know people who live near the Reinstadt Air Force base and hold the dread that this thing might be closed down.
As for Korea, we have a definable line of demarcation. We know at all times where the North Koreans are -- in North Korea. And for the most part, the South Koreans want us there.
In Iraq, not only are we surrounded by people hostile to us as the mortar shells being lobbed into the Green Zone prove, but most of the Iraqis would like to see us out. Any thinking person knows that the occupation, what it is, is pure catnip not only to extreme Muslims but even the fence sitters.
So what is the problem of running this thing like a business? What's wrong with defining "victory," setting milestones towards that end, and keeping us informed with how we are doing in achieving these milestones. Does this imply that the Bush administration does not want to define victory? You can add your favorite reasons why not.
Looking at the mess we made in Iraq, most of us are resigned to the notion that an immediate yank of troops out of Iraq would not be a good idea. But most of us are recognizing that we have to look at good sense way to wrap up our involvement in Iraq.
Wise minds are out there that could come up with a solution that is satisfactory to reality. With us spending $12 B a week we cannot go on like this. And with every week seeing injured and rattled soldiers coming home and representing a lifetime responsibility for the country that sent them there, we have a growing economic challenge.
Voters have to demand a solution out of McCain and not bromides, or anyone else who grooves on this war, or we'd better be prepared for a crash of both our economy and of our military.