Quick exit from Iraq is likely
Inside the Bush administration policymaking apparatus, there is strong feeling that U.S. troops must leave Iraq next year. This determination is not predicated on success in implanting Iraqi democracy and internal stability. Rather, the officials are saying: Ready or not, here we go.
Pulling the troops out of Iraq, whether by Bush or Kerry, before controlling the situation there would be a serious mistake. Would we really want to admit defeat?
Remember the picture in Iraq is bleak, according to the government's own estimate. Injuries and fatalities are up. The fact is that our intelligence is failing us again. We don't have the intelligence on the ground to help us root out the "insurgents." And Bush continues to try and convince us that things are improving. He thought that by "handing over" control of Iraq to the new government would mean that we would all forget that we still have troops there dying daily. The war is far from over there and we need clearly to step up our efforts. But the American people don't want to hear that we might call up reserves to fix a situation that we walked into. Stepping up military action would mean that "major combat operations" are not over, and that Bush was wrong again. With Kerry bringing Bush's post-election plans for this to light, I can only assume that the administration is using Bob Novak again to try and counter Kerry's attacks of the past week.