The result of the Bush administration's Iraq strategy is that nearly 3,000 Americans and countless Iraqis are dead, and violent sectarian extremism has overwhelmed the puny and naive "guns and butter" approach of the United States. Now the bipartisan Iraq Study Group joins its voice with those of the voters -- we must leave Iraq.
The report concludes that a too-rapid withdrawal will plunge the region into chaos. However, the group fails to suggest an exit strategy that will avoid the eventual plunge.
If staging the withdrawal of U.S. troops through early 2008 is meant to give Iraqis time to bolster their own domestic security, then the group fails to grasp that Iraqi military efforts to stop animalistic sectarian ruthlessness will be no more successful than American efforts have been.
At some point those efforts must either collapse, or be replaced by the next Saddam Hussein. If that is the case, then why wait for withdrawal?
The only validation for a gradual withdrawal strategy can be a compelling balance between two competing interests: the value of temporarily delaying the inevitable, bloody Iraqi meltdown; and the value of the lives of our sons and daughters who will be lost as the price of that delay. The group failed in its duty to address that gruesome balance.