Glenn Reynolds quotes Ann Althouse as follows:
ANN ALTHOUSE IS DEPRESSED:
"It's the failure of Americans to support the war. It's the folding and
crumpling because things didn't go well enough and the way we
conspicuously displayed that to our enemies. They're going to use that
information. For how long? Forever."
Despite my initial opposition to the war in Iraq, once we were there I have always been a stay the course guy. Partially for the reason that Althouse mentions, the damage to our credibility, and partially just because we have made a commitment to the Iraqi people and it would be dishonorable to leave them in the current mess without help.
What Althouse misses is this: American's are not necessarily ready to give up on the war in Iraq, but they are ready to give up on the Administration's management of it. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This is how many folks, including myself, see our effort in Iraq. We beat our head over and over against the same wall in the same place, expecting different results, and we don't get them. People need to see an acknowledgment that the current approach is not working, so we are going to try X instead.
In this context, "stay the course" looks less attractive. Because no one can seem to communicate what the extra time is going to buy us. What will be done in three more years that was not done in the last three? Or will we have to support the Iraqi's for decades against their own desire to tear themselves apart, so twenty years from now we can say "well, it took all our capacity and the military got nothing else done, but we finally converted one bad regime out of about fifty out there to a democracy."
I am willing to give the administration one more shot to define success in Iraq and a plan for getting there. Right now, many Americans feel like the only two choices are "retreat now, with Iraq still a mess" and "retreat in five years, with Iraq still a mess and after a lot more casualties." The administration is going to have to define an option 3 to get people back on board.