U.S. should alter its course in Iraq
Increasing numbers of American believe the war in Iraq was a mistake and realize it is not part of the war against terror.
MOST Americans now understand that the war in Iraq is separate from the war on terror. In increasing numbers, they oppose the war in Iraq, and President Bush is beginning to lose support from Republican leaders in Congress. An exit strategy other than "stay the course" is needed without leaving behind a civil war that could destabilize the Middle East.
A Gallup/USA Today poll last month found that 54 percent of respondents regarded the war as a mistake. It is generally agreed that Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction and al-Qaida had no connection with Iraq, the two reasons cited for the invasion.
If that had been known when Congress authorized the war nearly four years ago, Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, said, "It would never have come up for a vote, so it would have been an entirely different situation." Sen. John McCain, R-N.M., said the Bush administration has misled Americans into believing the war in Iraq would be "some kind of day at the beach."
Sixty percent of respondents of a CNN poll this month said they opposed the war in Iraq. A New York Times/CBS poll found that 51 percent saw no link between the war in Iraq and the fight against terrorism, an increase of 10 percent since June.
A timetable proposed by some Democrats for leaving Iraq would surely cause insurgents to hold back until the departure of U.S. troops provided an opportunity to rise again with little opposition. Bush told reporters this week, "We're not leaving so long as I'm president."
Maintaining the current policy or creating a vacuum of violence by leaving prematurely are not the only choices available. A federal system of autonomous provinces for Kurds in the North, Shiites in the South and Sunnis in the middle, redeployment of U.S. troops along Iraq's periphery to be used for strikes when needed and other options should be studied. The current course is not working.
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