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November 3, 2006
A Chat About Iraq

CQ reader Roger B says that the New York Times headline on its November surprise should really read, "BUSH DIDN'T LIE: Keller, Kerry, Moore, Dean Resign." I've bumped my post to just below this one so that readers can consider the effect that the revelation of the UN's inspector assessment of Saddam's nuclear program will have on the Iraq debate. Speaking of debate, I joined Nick Gillespie of Reason Magazine and its Hit & Run blog and Judd Legum of Think Progress for a chat on that very topic last night, pre-NYT:

asap: All right ... we're talking Iraq tonight. Apparently just like everyone else.

asap: Should a timeline be set for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, or should withdrawal be contingent on the accomplishment of certain specified goals?

Edward Morrissey: Withdrawal means one of two things: the mission is over and it was accomplished, or the mission is over and it failed. If we want to accomplish the mission, then we need the latter and not the former. If we want to admit defeat, then we need the former and not the latter.

Judd Legum: I think we should have a timeline for withdrawal ... this is the only way to succeed in Iraq... Our presence there is fueling the violence, to some extent, and more than our presence is the perception that we are never going to leave... if you look at the successes that have occurred in Iraq -- election, constitution -- these have occurred on a timetable... but even more than the Iraqis we need to do it for our own security ... we aren't able to focus on the threat from terrorism, which is a global problem.

Nick Gillespie: the first thing we need is a series of statements that define the mission in the first place. Are we there to create a democratic region? to have deposed tyranny in the form of Saddam? what? it's tempting to see the evident failure of the occupation as distinct from the military success of vanquishing Saddam. but in fact... the U.S. never really had a clear set of objectives in mind, which set up the occupation to fail.

Be sure to read the whole chat -- I've had a great time with Nick and Judd, and I think these have been moderated in an excellent fashion by our host, Otis Hart of the AP.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 3, 2006 6:53 AM

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