In the upcoming Presidential primaries, Americans will have the chance to choose among candidates who propose immediate withdrawal from Iraq (Richardson), rapid drawdowns (Edwards and Obama), open-ended commitment to the war (Giuliani, Romney, McCain), or a resigned middle ground, notably Hillary Clinton, who acknowledges that the occupation will likely endure well into the next Presidential term no matter which party occupies the White House.
The Iraqi people have no such choice, even though it’s their future that is at stake—and even though the creation of a democratic republic, one in which the Iraqis command their own destiny, has been a stated goal of the war. According to President Bush, American troops will leave whenever the Iraqis ask us to. “It’s their government’s choice,” he has said. “If they were to say, leave, we would leave.” But while the Iraqi government is divided and uncertain about the presence of occupying forces, the will of the Iraqi people has been clear from the beginning: they want the troops withdrawn. [complete article]