Guest Author - Tracey-Kay Caldwell
The Democrats funded the war without getting what most Americans were looking for, some timeline for getting our combat troops out of Iraq. I have a son in Iraq. But despite Rep. Dennis Kucinich suggestion at the New Hampshire debates that we could end our involvement in Iraq by simply not passing a spending bill, just cutting off all funds to our soldiers, I donít believe this would bring my son home any sooner. It is unrealistic to think that our soldiers could just pack up and leave. At the very least, their will be thing we need to do so they can redeploy safely. What will happen once we decide our soldiers are coming home is the debate will change.
So far, the debate on Iraq, by both democrats and republicans, has been focused on the Iraqis and what they need to do before we leave. Benchmarks and timelines are based on where the Iraqis are in governing themselves. Making to-do-lists for the Iraqis is easy, and it easier than making to-do-lists for ourselves. We canít really hold the Iraqis accountable for doing the things we put on their to-do-list, we can just get angry that they havenít met our expectations. But if we were making to-do-list for us, then we would looking for someone to hold accountable when it wasn't done.
Once we decide our combat troops are leaving Iraq, and they are leaving Iraq, it might be six months, or six years, or even sixty years, but at some point, we will decide we have had enough; then we will have to ask the hard questions. What would we have to do to avert a humanitarian crisis before we can redeploy our combat troops out of Iraq? After all, we do not want Iraq becoming the next Dufar. What do we need to do to protect American interests before we can redeploy our combat forces out of Iraq? What do we need to do to protect our combat troops when we redeploy them out of Iraq? These are the questions we will have to ask when we make our own to-do-list.
The reality is, we do not need a spending bill to pass, we do not need to cut off funding, and we do not need a date certain to leave, to change the debate. We can change the debate ourselves by asking those hard questions now. We can ask begin to discuss what we can do to avert a humanitarian crisis. We can discuss, what are the American interests that need to be protected? We can discuss what to put on our to-do-list, we can debate how long it will take to complete the tasks, and we can debate how much it will cost to complete the tasks. We can discuss these issues with are friends and family, we can ask these questions of our leaders, our politicians and our candidates. We can have this debate now and start the process of figuring out what we need to do to bring our combat troops home.