What the Dems need to do

For Iraq, the Democrats need a position other than "Stay the Course, reluctantly" - that's too near the Republican's position. They can't do "Cut and Run" - the Republicans have already positioned that as cowardly - and it'd probably be stupid in terms of the disaster it'd be for Iraqis as well.

Also - the Democrats need to stake out a position that appeals to the military (and their families) to pull over some of the conservative and moderate voters.

My recommendation - US troops to pull out of all cities/towns, but stay in Iraq, ready to move in if the Iraqis can't hack it. Still provide training and material support - just outside the urban areas.

What does that accomplish? Well, we stop creating new terrorists/insurgents by killing civilians, for one thing. Iraqis will have less sympathy for insurgents blowing things up in the city - hopefully that'll mean a lower level of violence around civilians and against the police.

And of course there'll be fewer body bags and missing limbs on our side - which also sets the Democrats up to complain about how silent the Republicans are on that point, without appearing callous (since they offer a better alternative). To the Iraqis (and US voters and hopefully the rest of the world) it's a clear step toward eventual full withdrawal.

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