Bill Murchison

The departure of all our troops would take months, even if President Obama gave the signal on Inauguration Day, so combat wouldn't end right away for American troops. A consideration Obama seems unwilling to wrestle with is that of our troops' being sucked into the maelstrom of civil war, like it or not. All he affirms, with calculated vagueness, is a desire to keep a certain number of troops close at hand to intervene, or something like that, in particular unspecified situations.

Nor could one dismiss the certainty of international laughter and scorn at the spectacle of the mighty Americans returning home, tail between legs, whimpering. Spectacles of that sort do wonders for a country's image, both at home and abroad, wouldn't you agree?

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger says of Iraq: "We do not have the option of withdrawal." The option to engage in unserious sound bites on the campaign trail for the sake of excitement -- that's a different matter. You can make a perilously complex international crisis sound like simplicity itself.

And what's the sound bite when, having implemented your sound bite policy, you find everything coming to pieces -- loudly, explosively?

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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