Congress is debating two democratic proposals to establish a pull out date for Iraq. In my opinion there are two basic views. First, a pull out date pressures the Iraqi military to step up recruiting and training so that the Iraqi military and government will be ready to assume control. The second, opposite viewpoint is to get the job done without a pull out date.
In the world of project management, deadlines are crucial and provide motivation to get the job done. I recognize and support that methodology in a business environment. However, in the world of warfare, you never give your enemy an advantage and a pull out date would do exactly that. A pull out date would encourage the enemy to sit back and give the appearance that the insurgency had been defeated. Then, once the superior training, technology and firepower of the U.S. military had left the area, the insurgency would reappear and provide a challenge that may be too great for the newly formed Iraqi military and government.
Ending the Iraqi war has nothing to do with whether or not you believe in the decision to go to war. (I will state for the record that I supported going to war.) As stated by former secretary of state Colin Powell, gift store rules apply - we broke it, we own it. What does this mean? A necessary result of the Iraqi war was the removal of Saddam Hussein and the dismantling of the previous Iraqi government. We now must support the creation of a new government and associated infrastructure. Afghanistan provides us with a model of what can happen when a governmental void exists. In Afghanistan, the U.S. did not support the redevelopment of a government structure after the Soviet Union's military left the area. That void was filled with the Taliban. We cannot allow the formation of a Iraqi government to fail. Such a void would allow a terrorist environment to thrive. Are terrorists already in Iraqi? Of course they are and that provides the fundamental reason why we must prevail. How long will it take to destroy the terrorists in Iraq, put down the insurgency, stabilize the political environment to remove the threat of civil war and establish a fully functional Iraqi military and government? Simply put - a very long time and pull out date cannot be arbitrarily assigned. Our goal should be get the job done right, not get the job done by a particular date. We take on this task because it is the right thing to do, regardless of difficulty of the challenge or the amount of time and resources required. There is nothing more expensive or worthwhile than freedom.