Matt Yglesias get's it exactly right today, in response to rightwing voices who ask if a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq would be a good idea.
the truth is that I don't, of course, think a "precipitous" departure from Mesopotamia is a good idea. Were the country run by reasonable people, I would think something like this would happen:I don't know about you, but I'm heartily sick of those pro-war individuals who think saying "well, what would your plan be?" is any argument in favor of Bush's non-plan. I had a go at "my plan" back in April of 2005. I put it in three long posts: Twin Wars:Looking Back, Part Two, Iraq and Part Three,Aghanistan and Onward. The Iraq Study Group, a year later, came to much the same conclusions in many areas. We all know how much Bush listened to the ISG.
President informs Pentagon that we need to withdraw our troops from Iraq, and they need to study the question of what's the best way to do this quickly but safely.
Based on the feedback POTUS gets about what's feasible to do in a safe manner, he picks a target date.
With a provisional date chosen, POTUS shares his thinking with key partners in the British and Iraqi governments, and concedes to minor alterations in the schedule if said partners have strong feelings about the desirability of small changes.
The plan is announced at some public gathering with representatives of the Iraq, American, British, and other coalition governments.
The trouble is that the country isn't being run by sensible people so the sensible thing can't happen. Instead, since we have some sensible people in congress, they're trying to do what congress can do. Congressional Iraq plans, meanwhile, have an air of arbitrariness about them since congress isn't staffed properly to assess the relevant operational issues. And the administration won't let the military do any planning for withdrawal. So, naturally, Democrats are left with non-optimal proposals to put forward. And this is then used as a reason to support the very administration whose terrible policy are forcing us into this corner in the first place.
The current situation in Iraq is a tangled mess. That is entirely the fault of the current incumbent of the White House and his coterie of cronies, worm-tongues and cheerleaders. Any attempt to unravel that mess by any means is hamstrung by their continued attempts to tangle it even further. Yet the culprits now want others to come up with plans?
It's like the arsonist asking someone to put out the fire in the barn while said arsonist insists on bolting the door and starting new fires.
Any real plan has to begin by locking up the arsonist. That can't be done, so the next best bet is taking the aronist's matches away from him - which is why congress should take the step of defunding the occupation.