Amid the Rancor, Partisan Consensus Emerges on Iraq

The USA Today headline coverage of Petraeus's statement says it all: "Parties Disagree on Timing of Troop Withdrawal." The debate over Iraq has now wound down into a matter of tens of thousands of troops and a few months one way or the other. This narrowing of the partisan gap has not decreased the vitriol of the exchanges or the level of passion involved, but it reflects the increasing perception of both parties of the new reality. The Democrats are understanding that they cannot pull out entirely from Iraq and that there is much of value going on in that country. The Bush administration is grasping that it cannot stay there forever and that neither the military nor the public has the patience for an endless and massive commitment. So the gap is now a matter of the timing and the quantity of a troop draw-down.

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