1. No WMDs. 2. No link to Al Qaeda. 3. Democracy installed. 4. Regime change accomplished.
What's left? What are we still doing over there?
The President will tell you that we are waiting for the Iraqis to stand up. Could there be a less clear and more ridiculous mission? When do we know they've stood up? Are they squatting right now? Perhaps kneeling? I hope they're not lounging.
I can't wait for Bush to land on an aircraft carrier one day and tell us the mission has been accomplished -- Iraq has officially stood up. I wonder what it will do once it's standing? I hope it doesn't go for a walk. The last time it did that, we had to liberate Kuwait.
Look, let's get real, this thing is over. If you're a Democrat, you call it an unmitigated disaster of historic proportions. If you're a Republican, you say we have accomplished all our goals in Iraq -- Saddam is gone and the Iraqis are free. Either way, I can't imagine who benefits from our continued occupation of the country (except, of course, the neocons who still have dreams of permanent bases floating around in their global domination filled heads).
Whether it's mission accomplished or mission botched, our mission in Iraq is clearly over.
At this point, if we continue to keep troops in Iraq, it will be a whole new mission. Call it Operation Iraqi Cop. We will try to keep the different sectarian groups in Iraq and their separate militias from fighting each other ... so much. How long can we keep that up? How long does Iraq needs us to play cops and bombers over there?
It's a nearly impossible mission, but no matter what you think of it, it is indisputably not what we went in there to do in the first place. Yes, I don't want to rush out and leave behind a mess either. But it is clear that we will make a larger mess if we stay indefinitely (even if we just give the impression that we are staying indefinitely).
We are the house guest who just won't leave. At this point, someone has to take the awkward step of asking us how long we plan to stay. Can it really be longer than a year? Are we really going to keep losing young American men and women over there to play street cop to a fight we have no business being in the middle of?
I think what we did in Iraq was a horrendous mistake and I am sick that we started a conflict between the Shiites and the Sunnis that we can't seem to get under control (and we certainly can't do that with these troop levels). But at some point, the Sunnis and the Shiites have to come to terms with each other. They're either going to do that through a terrible and needless military conflict or they're going to do it through a negotiated settlement (well, ultimately, it's always a settlement, the only question is how many people die before you can figure out what the terms of that settlement will be).
Is anyone really convinced we are helping them come to a reasonable agreement on this issue? Yes, our air power can suppress larger land battles (kind of, who do they shoot at, which side?), but our air power will be in the region no matter what. But what good are we doing otherwise? We're just serving to antagonize a lot of people and unfortunately serving as sitting ducks.
Do any of our soldiers even know what their mission is? Is it to stop all violence in Iraq? Most of the violence? Some? Any?
This is ridiculous. This thing is over. Let's wrap it up in some reasonable period of time (anything longer than a year from now cannot be considered reasonable). And let's finally bring our kids back home. They've done enough. That's got to be something Republicans and Democrats can agree on.