Despite Bush's Mismanagement, Not The Time For Withdrawal

When we send Americans to fight a war, our principal goal must be victory. Despite the administration's mismanagement of this war, their early miscalculations that were based on faulty intelligence and their failure to adequately armor and protect our troops, victory must still be our goal. Last year, the Louisiana Guard deployed to Iraq for what turned out to be a very difficult tour of duty. I went to see them in Iraq, and have talked with the leadership since their return. Based on these conversations, as well as my own observations of the circumstances today, I do not believe now is the time to set arbitrary start or end dates for withdrawal. We all want a peaceful and democratic Iraq, guarded and defended by Iraqis, but in my judgment, the disengagement of American forces, when it comes, must be based on protecting American lives, smart strategy and the realities on the ground -- not on arbitrary timetables.