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What now?

Via Liberal Avenger, in a Boston Globe op-ed today (registration required, or just use the Kos trick), George McGovern and Jim McGovern argue that the US should begin the withdrawal of its forces from Iraq:

The United States must now begin an orderly withdrawal of our forces from this mistaken foreign venture... There are no clear answers from the administration or the Congress on how long our forces will need to stay in Iraq, what the anticipated costs in human life and treasure will be, or even what would constitute success.

...It is common to hear even some who voted against the war say, ''now that we're there, we have no choice but to stay." We very much disagree. Calls to maintain the status quo echo the same rationale used to keep us in Vietnam. To those who contend that we would weaken our credibility if we withdraw, we believe that the nation's standing would greatly improve if we demonstrate the judgment to terminate an unwise course.

... There are no easy answers in Iraq. But we are convinced that the United States should now set a dramatically different course -- one that anticipates US military withdrawal sooner rather than later. We should begin the discussions now as to how we can bring our troops home.

... Wars are easy to get into, but hard as hell to get out of. After two years in Iraq and the loss of more than 1,600 American soldiers, it is simply not enough to embrace the status quo.

We are not suggesting a ''cut-and-run" strategy. The United States must continue to finance security, training, and reconstruction.

But the combination of stubbornness and saving face is not an adequate rationale for continuing this war. This is not a liberal or conservative issue. It is time for lawmakers in Washington -- and for concerned citizens across the nation -- to demand that this sad chapter in our history come to an end and not be repeated in some other hapless country.

I'm beginning to agree that anti-war folks should start calling for withdrawal. I understand the hesitancy to do this--the desire not to 'cut and run'--but without a clear idea of what is to be achieved by the continued presence of the US military, it makes little sense to insist upon it. In other words, withdrawal should be the default position until it is demonstrated how the continued occupation is supposed to bring Iraq any closer to peace or self-determination. Right now, it seems to be doing the opposite.

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