May 22 Deadline For Iraq and US Troops

So what do we do now in Iraq? We want democracy in Iraq, but Iraqis must want it as much as we do. Our valiant soldiers can’t bring democracy to Iraq if Iraq’s leaders are unwilling themselves to make the compromises that democracy requires.

As our generals have said, the war cannot be won militarily. It must be won politically. No American soldier should be sacrificed because Iraqi politicians refuse to resolve their ethnic and political differences.



Here’s what we’ve learned but not everyone has yet accepted. Iraqi leaders have responded only to deadlines—a deadline to transfer authority to a provisional government, and a deadline to hold three elections. It was the most intense 11th hour pressure that just pushed aside Prime Minister Jaafari and brought forward a more acceptable candidate. And it will demand deadline toughness to reign in Shiite militias Sunnis say are committing horrific acts of torture every day in Baghdad. 

So we must set another deadline to extricate our troops and get Iraq up on its own two feet.

Iraqi politicians should be told that they have until May 22 – a deadline enshrined within their own Constitution - to deal with these intransigent issues and at last put together an effective unity government or we will immediately withdraw our military. If Iraqis aren’t willing to build a unity government in the five months since the election, they’re probably not willing to build one at all. The civil war will only get worse, and we will have no choice anyway but to leave.

If Iraq’s leaders succeed in putting together a government, then we must agree on another deadline: a schedule for withdrawing American combat forces by year’s end. Doing so will actually empower the new Iraqi leadership, put Iraqis in the position of running their own country and undermine support for the insurgency, which is fueled in large measure by the majority of Iraqis who want us to leave their country.

Is that tough? Sure. Will some people think we should just keep our mouths shut and go along with the Administration? Obviously. That’s not new. When we protested the war in Vietnam some would weigh in against us saying: “My country right or wrong.