Debra J. Saunders

Sounds like Iraq to me. As for my belief that antiwar factions would start chipping away at popular support for the war, Jawad answered, "The U.S. government and new Congress support is robust and bipartisan and long-term." I hope, if Congress does set a hard timetable to withdraw from Iraq, that Jawad is right. Clearly, he wants what is best for his country.

As an American, however, I don't see how the same arguments for pulling troops out of Iraq won't apply to the 25,000 American troops in Afghanistan.

Sure, Iraq war critics like to point out that the United States had a casus belli -- Osama bin Laden -- for entering Afghanistan. But we don't know that bin Laden is still in Afghanistan.

As the left likes to dwell on President Bush's failures, the failure to get bin Laden lends itself to defeatism.

Then there is the left's conceit that only liberals really care about the toll on U.S. troops. According to the Pentagon, as of April 14, the death toll of U.S. troops in Afghanistan was 315 since October 2001. If fighting should escalate, how long will it take before the media start reporting on benchmarks? As in: 500 dead, and what can we show for it? Canada has sacrificed, as well -- losing 54 troops in Afghanistan since 2002.

On Thursday, Liberals in Canada's Parliament introduced a motion calling for Canadian troops to be out of the NATO military mission by February 2009. Italian discontent about troops in Afghanistan forced Prime Minister Romano Prodi to step down temporarily in February. Polls show Germans want to get out, too -- even though the German government has kept its NATO troops out of harm's way. Look at the headlines from Afghanistan. "Afghan civilian death toll up in 2006/More than 1,000 people were killed, rights group says." That's from January.

"Afghan town falls to Taliban after NATO troops leave." February.

"Marine unit ordered to leave Afghanistan/They're accused of killing civilians" -- that was in March.

And this month: "Iranian-made arms seized in Afghanistan."

While Pelosi has called Afghanistan "the real war on terror," the nation is mired in internal strife and beset by jihadists, and its internal problems undermine attempts to create an infrastructure needed to make Afghans prosperous. Jawad sees long-term international will. If he were President Bush, folks would call that a "rosy scenario."

Debra J. Saunders

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