Iraq Timetable

There's an old joke: you go up to an attractive member of the opposite sex and ask them, would you sleep with me for $25 million? If they say yes, then the punch line is something like, "Now that we've established what you are, let's work out a better price". I think that this might be a useful strategy in attempting to bring the Bush administration to heel regarding withdrawal from Iraq.

For example, would the president sign a bill that had a mandatory withdrawal "within the 21st Century"? "Within the 3rd Millenium"?

I would think that his refusal to sign either of those bills would probably lead to his impeachment. I doubt that more than a handful of even the hardest of the hard-core rightwing Iraq hawks would have the stomach to keep up this struggle for 93 more years.

However, if he did sign, then the political battle, just like in the joke, would move to establishing a better "price", or in this case, a better date for withdrawal.

So, let's pursue this mental experiment: what about 50 more years? 20 more years? Or even ten more years? Would any of those timeframes be acceptable? One shudders to think that George Bush might be unwilling to commit himself to a withdrawal before ten more years of this slaughter have passed. My sense is that probably 20 years, or a generation (actually, 24 years counting those already passed) is about what he would be willing to sign.

But time passes very quickly. Think about how fast the past four years have gone by. In fact, a commitment to a 20 year deadline would actually be a substantive improvement over what we have now.

Furthermore, with a commitment to a time certain for withdrawal, even an absurd one like two decades, many things would become possible. For example, it would facilitate a much more concrete discussion about things like what our goals are in Iraq, the status of American military bases there in the long term, and so on. And, it would completely end the absurd "setting a deadline is 'cutting and running'" theme.

Therefore, I humbly suggest that the Democrat leaders submit a new bill to President Bush that is identical to the one he has said he will veto, but with a much longer deadline for withdrawal, for example, "within 20 years". Not only would it greatly enhance the dialog about the war, but would also be much more sane than the current endless, rootless, killing.

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