Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Progress In Iraq ?

Conservatives would like for all of us to believe that victory is right around the corner in Iraq, but the killing just keeps happening day after day. In addition to the many thousands of Iraqis that have been killed, there have now been 4,201 American soldiers killed. Just in this year, 294 American soldiers have died in Iraq. That's an average of about 28 soldiers a month.

It's not as many as last year, but it's still far too many. But even Bush knows there's no victory just around the corner. That's why he's trying to get the Iraqis to agree to let American troops stay another three years -- until the end of 2011. He wants this so bad, he's willing to agree to withdraw the troops from Iraqi cities by the middle of next year, withdraw the right of American troops to enter an Iraqi home without an Iraqi warrant, and subject American soldiers to Iraqi courts for certain crimes.

Bush may even get what he wants. Maliki has agreed to the new deal, and it's looking like a majority of the parliament may also agree. There's only one fly in the ointment -- Moqtada al-Sadr. Moqtada al-Sadr wants the American soldiers out now, and he's threatening to rearm his militia and turn them loose once again if the new agreement is approved.

That would make things a lot more dangerous for American soldiers. The reduction in American deaths had a lot more to do with al-Sadr declaring a truce, than the "surge" of American troops. If he puts his militia back in the field, there will be a sharp rise in American deaths.

None of this makes any sense for Americans. They not only can't do what they need to do by withdrawing from the cities and giving up the right to search Iraqi homes, but staying beyond this year will give them even more enemies to fight. It is ridiculous to stay another three years under these conditions.

Let's bring our soldiers home and let the Iraqis settle their own problems. The agreement is not only a bad one, it is unnecessary.

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