Feature

Iraq

The price of progress.

Saddam Hussein is on trial for his crimes. Millions of his once-brutalized subjects have approved a democratic constitution. And as of this week, 2,000 U.S. servicemen and women have given their lives on Iraqi soil. Is it finally time to bring the troops home? asked John Nichols in Thenation.com. President Bush keeps insisting that we must 'œstay the course' until the bloody Iraqi insurgency is defeated. But now even many 'œRepublican stalwarts' are saying that enough is enough. As GOP Rep. Ron Paul recently put it, 'œIf chaos results after our departure, it's because we occupied Iraq, not because we left.'

That view couldn't be more wrongheaded, said Frederick Kagan in The Weekly Standard. Iraq may still be a violent land, but think how far it's come. Just three years ago, it was a broken, rogue nation run by a genocidal maniac. In little more than two years, the Bush administration has brought about a new nation with an elected government and a fledgling army. If we keep troops in Iraq for another year or so, while Sunnis are coaxed into the political process, the insurgency will wither. 'œThere is no reason we cannot win.' It may have been rougher than it should have been, said Mark Steyn in The New York Sun, but Bush 'œgot one big thing right'—that Iraq 'œhad the potential to function as a free society in a part of the world where no such thing has ever existed.' Bush's sneering critics, on the other hand, were wrong. 'œSometimes, war is worth it.'

Lawrence F. Kaplan

The New Republic

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