Escape From Iraq

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A lot of pundits are talking about Bush trying to set conditions so he can "escape" from Iraq, because we're "losing" the war, and he finally realizes we need to "retreat."

But nothing significant has changed since the invasion. In the infamous-and-almost-universally-misremembered "Mission Accomplished" speech, far from Bush saying that the "mission" was "accomplished" in Iraq and that we would leave soon -- something that was never said, but most people believe he did -- he actually said:

We have difficult work to do in Iraq. ... The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done and then we will leave and we will leave behind a free Iraq.

Now, it turns out the work was even more difficult than Bush figured. But that did not change the exit plan: we would stay until the political structure of Iraq was rebuilt, and could stand on its own. That is still the plan.

It's nonsensical to say that Bush is trying to "escape" by pulling out U.S. troops as Iraqi forces can take control; that is not retreat, that is the definition of success.

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"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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