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December 7, 2006

An Iraq Plan - Wherefore Art Thou?

Katie Nash

After witnessing the Republican carnage in November, where do the American people go from here? It would appear that they feel the Democrats have a better plan for resolving the existing American presence in Iraq.

Amazing, isn't it, that there has been little discussion of what plan the Democrats will follow now that they have guaranteed their ascendancy in 2007. Note the sarcasm and skepticism.

The Iraq war was a political buzz phrase for both Republicans and Democrats in the election. For Republicans, mentioning Iraq was a death-knell, while, for Democrats, it turned swing voters left and had them supporting candidates that advertised their dislike for George Bush rather than their qualifications.

Some argue that this election represented the opportunity to send the president the "we're-not-happy-with-the-war" message. While this idea is highly speculative, one can assume it was a motivator for some voters. The question, then, is what exactly did these folks vote for?

Sure, during the campaign there were several plans put forth by congressional candidates. The New York Times ran a story just before the election that highlighted those outlined by the would-be politicians, as well as those seeking re-election.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., CA) is calling for an immediate withdrawal, with forces out entirely before the end of 2007. A deadline of two years has been called for by Ohio Democrat Senator-elect Sherrod Brown, among others. Clearly these folks feel they have a plan. It is noteworthy to point out that neither Mr. Brown nor Mrs. Pelosi have served in the United States Armed Forces - Nancy's father and brother were mayors of Baltimore, but this may or may not qualify as combat experience.

Although plans vary among the Democrats, one central theme was present during the election. The television advertisements touted a "better than status quo" message that found resonation with the average impatient American voter.

It appears that the ball has been passed to Secretary of Defense-nominee Robert Gates. Although the Democrats rode the coattails of campaign promises to end the war, what role will this new secretary play in the decision to withdrawal or stay the course?

Likely Mr. Gates has been set up to fail - the next round of elections begins in t-minus yesterday.

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