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November 26, 2007

Getting Out
Posted by Max Bergmann

William Arkin at the Post hits the nail on the head. He argues that the decrease in violence should not obscure the fact that we need to get out of Iraq.

No one at the national level is going to "reconcile" and transform until they know America is leaving. And, even then, there could be a civil war of enormous proportions, resulting in division of the country.

Furthermore, the presence of the American occupier remains the strongest stimulus for messianic and jihadi violence. "Al Qaeda in Iraq" might be vanquished. But it's unclear whether it was ever a significant enemy or whether its defeat will spell the violence. The anti-American banner, "al Qaeda," is still very attractive to many. And terrorism is likely to continue in Iraq -- with al Qaeda, Iranian, Syrian and Pakistani support -- as long as the U.S. military occupies the country.

The American people want out of Iraq. And our being there stands in the way of the outcome we are seeking. And so, we should acknowledge the progress. But we should be realistic about what is possible.


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