August 17, 2007 | Editorial
GEORGE W. Bush’s strategy in Iraq is to keep the U.S. occupation going indefinitely--these days, we’re told, to prevent Iraq from becoming a base for al-Qaeda in the “war on terror.”
So it’s little wonder that so many people have looked to the field of Democratic presidential candidates to provide a plan to bring the troops home. But these Democrats are promoting plans that would keep the U.S. military on the ground in Iraq for the foreseeable future.
“Even as they call for an end to the war and pledge to bring the troops home, the Democratic presidential candidates are setting out positions that could leave the United States engaged in Iraq for years,” the New York Times observed.
Take, for example, John Edwards, who claims to be one of the most antiwar of the Democratic contenders. “We’ve got to be prepared to control a civil war if it starts to spill outside the borders of Iraq,” Edwards declared in a recent candidates’ debate.
Then there’s Barack Obama, who argues that it’s necessary to “leave a military presence of as-yet unspecified size in Iraq to provide security for American personnel, fight terrorism and train Iraqis,” as the Times put it.
In other words, the major Democratic presidential contenders are struggling to redefine “withdrawal” to mean downsizing--but not ending--the occupation.