There is a HUGE Logical Problem with the Iraq Policy

02/04/2007 02:55 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

whitesq.jpgAt President Bush's meeting with the Democratic leadership over the weekend, the following line drew applause, according to the transcript released by the White House:

And I have made it clear to the Iraqi government, just like I made it clear to the American people, our commitment is not open ended.

Of course that makes sense. But no one -- no one who cares about logic or rationality, that is -- can say that and also say, as Bush continually does, that success in Iraq is of crucial, existential, world-historical importance.

  • If success in Iraq is that important, our commitment is in fact open-ended.
  • If our commitment in Iraq is not open-ended, then success in Iraq is not that important.

When will some Democrat -- let's get crazy, some Republican -- ask: Mr. President, which will it be?

James Fallows writes for The Atlantic. This column was originally posted on