U.S. Should Not Pretend ‘Phased Withdrawal’ Is a Strategy for Victory

U.S. Should Not Pretend ‘Phased Withdrawal’ Is a Strategy for Victory

There are no good options in Iraq, which means Americans -- who are inclined to believe there is a solution to every problem -- are ill-equipped to plot a way forward.

The country lies in ruins. Bush's policy of simply lurching from one bloodbath to the next, from one political crisis to the next, has failed. The military is considering a temporary increase in troop strength, or a longer-term plan to embed many more advisers with Iraqi forces. At this point neither of those plans is likely to succeed, but both represent a last-ditch attempt to avert an utter catastrophe in Iraq.

A third option -- one the military is contemplating but will probably reject -- is simply staging an orderly retreat from Iraq, and leaving Iraqis to their fates. This is a tempting option and also a politically appealing one, since after three and a half years promises that victory is within our grasp ring hollow.

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