Exit strategy

Just when you might start feeling a glimmer of hope that Washington's imperial ambitions are being scaled back — the election, the neocons' backbiting, the ascent of Jim Baker and Bush 41's coterie — here comes a bucket of ice-water reality from William S. Lind writing at the Lew Rockwell site:

While both parties want to get out, neither has nor will be able to create a consensus on how to get out. Not only will they be unable to generate a consensus between the parties, or between the Executive branch and the Congress, they will not be able to find consensus within either party on how the withdrawal is to be managed. The result will be paralysis and a continuation of the war.

This is undoubtedly true.  With Bush paralyzed by indecision, while gung-ho Sen. John McCain calls for more troops, and Rep. Walter "Freedom Fries" Jones experiences an antiwar ephiphany, the Republicans can't reach consensus.  And with Democrat egos like Rahm Emanuel and John Murtha going toe-to-toe, the majority party in Congress won't come to any kind of agreement, either.

Part of the reason Washington will not be able to agree on a plan for coming home from Iraq is political. Neither party wants to enable the other to blame it in 2008 for "losing Iraq." The Democrats are especially fearful of anything that would seem to make them look "weak on defense."

So the war will grind on, no one willing exercise the least-worst option and just bring the troops home:

In the absence of any good options, politicians of both parties in Washington, not wanting to hold the bag for the inevitable failure, will be able to agree only on a series of half-measures. We will train still more Iraqi troops or police, ignoring that both are mostly militiamen for one or another faction. We will pull our troops back into remote bases, where most already stay, remaining in Iraq while the civil war boils up around us. We will try to get the regional powers to help us out, despite the fact that those who would can't and those who can have no reason to do so. We will steam in circles, scream and shout, hoping desperately for a deus ex machina rescue that is unlikely to appear.

Still not convinced?  As David Kurtz notes over at Talking Points Memo, few Americans at this time in 1968 thought we'd be in Vietnam for several more years.

Sorry to burst your bubble. I can't say I was really experiencing a "bubble" about all this in recent days, myself.  Maybe a bear-market rally.  But no more.  The reality is inescapable.