U.S. exit from Iraq not a good idea

By Andy McMurray

On Sunday’s “Meet the Press” Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) and Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) joined other lawmakers in urging a shift in the Bush administration’s Iraq policy. They want a timetable for American withdrawal.

So does Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), the man who coined the term “freedom fries.” He said on ABC’s “This Week” he would be offering up legislation to set the aforementioned timetable.

There are a number of reasons why setting a withdrawal timetable will not work.

First and foremost is the reality of the situation on the ground in Iraq. What will happen there is not dictated by the U.S. military. No one can possibly know what Iraq will be like a week from today let alone months or years in the future.

Despite the fact that 60 percent of Americans support a withdrawal in a recent Gallup poll, the situations in Iraq do not permit a rushed movement out of that country.

What such polls really show is that 600 out of 1,000 lonely voters, who answer calls from telemarketers, think the United States should withdraw from Iraq.

These lonely voters may have a better grasp of foreign policy than our president, but letting them decide the course of the Iraq War is probably not in our best interest. It is certainly not in the best interest of the Iraqis.

While lawmakers insist on this withdrawal date they spew forth nonsense about the war.

Weldon said of Iraq; “We can’t come back to America and have our people being convinced that the Iraqi troops are prepared to take over; when they’re not.”

Regardless, Weldon is one of the voices calling for a legislated withdrawal date

How can the United States possibly withdraw if the Iraqis are not ready to take over?

By trying to put an end date on the Iraq War politicians lull the public into a false sense of hope. What happens when the United States still cannot withdraw by the given date?

Legislating an exit strategy may look good to embattled Republicans heading into the 2006 mid-term elections but it is the worst possible solution for the Iraqis.

What it comes down to is that war is not a circumstance that can be contained in an agenda or timetable.

The wisest thing American lawmakers can do is to let the military do the job it was asked to do. Let the commanders on the ground decide when to leave. Politicians and bureaucrats should stick to what they do best. Which is coming up with really bad ideas.

Not all lawmakers agree setting a withdrawal date is needed.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the United States could not afford to lose this battle in the War on Terror by letting the insurgents push us out of Iraq.

While Graham’s logic may be sound militarily, there is another, more important reason the United States cannot set dates for an Iraq exit.

The reality of war is only the soldiers on the ground know what is really happening. Iraqis and military commanders should decide when the war is over, not senators and congressmen.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.