Feature

Iraq

Why the war will continue.

When it comes to the war in Iraq, said David Broder in The Washington Post, there's a major disconnect between 'œpublic opinion and Washington reality.' Every major poll now indicates that most Americans think Iraq is not worth the loss of more American lives. And yet, following President Bush's recent veto of a military spending bill that included timetables for troop withdrawals, Democrats are not likely to force Bush's hand. Is the will of the people being thwarted? In a word, yes'”but not indefinitely. The beauty of our constitutional system is that while the president runs the military, the people pick the president. And history shows that 'œwars do end when the American people say they must.' So if the war in Iraq doesn't wind down with Bush in the White House, rest assured: The endgame is almost certain to happen in 2008, when we elect a new commander in chief.

Don't be so sure, said Andrew McCarthy in National Review Online. Yes, Americans are sick of Iraq. But there may be one thing they hate even more than fighting this war'”the prospect of losing it to al Qaida and the other terrorists who have made Iraq the central front in their jihad. 'œDemocrats know this'”which is why they dare not end the war, as it is in their power to do, right this minute, by cutting off funding.' Bush is winning his showdown with the Democrats not just because he's stubborn, but because Democrats know they could pay a heavy political price for leading us to defeat. Indeed, Democrats now find themselves in a precarious place, said Douglas Schoen in RealClearPolitics.com. Their anti-war base will be livid if Democrats cave on the time­table issue. But if Democrats become associated with a precipitous withdrawal that leads to 'œa disaster on the ground,' they could be stuck with the 'œsoft on terror' label for years to come.

Joan Vennochi

The Boston Globe

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