It is said that if enough monkeys were set to work poking randomly at enough typewriter keys, one of them, on the sheer law of averages, would sooner or later write "Hamlet." By the same token, if enough Democratic Congressmen try long enough, one or another of them may someday come up with a rational alternative plan for American military involvement in the Middle East. But it hasn't happened yet, and the signs are not encouraging.
The central fact, at least from the standpoint of Democratic strategists, is that, according to the polls, a substantial majority of the American people has given up on Iraq and favor withdrawing our forces there. Whether this is true can still be debated, because some of the polls indicate that most Americans don't favor an immediate bug-out (as distinguished from one or another sort of phased withdrawal), and a surprisingly large percentage tend to favor one final push, along the lines of President Bush's "surge." But, as the Democrats see it, the American public has clearly had it with the general idea of U.S. military action in Iraq. And if so, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that there is political gold for the Democrats in coming out against it.
The devil, however, is as usual in the details. There are almost as many Democratic proposals for pulling out of Iraq as there are Democrats in Congress. First are the pure-and-simple bug-out advocates, like Sen. Russ Feingold (Wisconsin). They simply want our soldiers to get up and leave -- the sooner the better. Then there is the idea that, for a long time, was Speaker Nancy Pelosi's only "plan": to "redeploy" our forces -- out of Iraq, to someplace else. Just where that "someplace else" might be, she never got around to saying, but it might theoretically be anyplace between Kuwait and Okinawa.
It also might be home. In Nancy's house, there were many mansions. (But "redeploy" sounds nicer than "bug out.")
Another group of Democrats, including Sen. Clinton, opposes bugging out now, preferring to bug out on some later date (six months from now, the end of this year, next March, or eighteen months from now). This date is called a "deadline," and is often linked to a demand that Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki government do something by that date. That would give us the excuse that it was the Iraqis, and not we, who did the actual failing.
William Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and author of How to Win Arguments .
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