"Abandoning Iraq would be the equivalent of handing it over to al Qaeda terrorists or like extremists, providing them with a new beachhead in the Middle East. It could also result in Iraq becoming an Iranian-Syrian sphere of influence.
It would also teach the worst possible lessons — telling the Arab and Muslim world that we're not serious about Middle Eastern freedom and democracy, and proving to potential adversaries such as China, North Korea and Iran that America is a paper tiger.
The president must trumpet the (underreported) successes since Iraq's Independence Day: Eight million Iraqis braving death to vote in democratic elections, establishing a free government and drafting a new constitution is no small feat — and a good news story.
Of course, the president should "roger up" to the serious challenges that exist in dealing with the insurgency, while noting the progress in the training/equipping of Iraqi forces — without overselling their numbers or capability. Finally, he should articulate some of the steps he's going to take to advance the mission in Iraq in order to complete the transfer of power to the Iraqi government and bring our brave men and women home."
"A majority of Sunnis boycotted January's elections. But if the Iraqi state is to be fully representative of its people, the Sunnis must be brought in on the drafting of the constitution and made part of the mainstream political process ASAP.
Last Friday, President Bush welcomed Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al Jaafari to the White House. After a closed-door meeting, Bush said, "Today we're at a critical moment in the history of this proud nation."
He was talking about Iraq, but the fact is that United States is also at a "critical moment" in its history. We are deeply involved in a Herculean effort to reshape the Middle East, "draining the swamp" of extremism and repression that feeds terrorism.
America must decide whether it will finish the job in Iraq, or let the region be plunged deeper into the darkness of the likes of Saddam Hussein, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. President Bush should make that choice clear to the American people."